How to Use Snapchat Filters & Get Hidden Snapchat Filters


Snapchat is no fun without its filters and lenses. In fact, most photo and video sharing apps have now introduced filters, probably inspired by the early Snapchat filters. In this post, we’ll take a look at how to use Snapchat filters and how you can get hidden Snapchat filters.

First off, there’s a common misconception that we need to clear. There are Snapchat Filters, and then there are Snapchat Lenses.

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snapchat filters

Snapchat Filters vs Snapchat Lenses

Snapchat Filters are simple photo/video overlays that you can use to add color effects, temperature, speed, location, etc. to your photos or videos. These filters can be accessed by swiping left or right on your camera screen on Snapchat after you have taken a photo or video. There are also location-based filters called Geofilters created by individuals and brands that are accessible within a specific geographic region. Filters are available on both rear and front cameras.

Snapchat Lenses, on the other hand, are special effects and sounds that you can add to your selfies and videos after you have scanned your face with the Snapchat camera. Lenses are mostly built for adding effects to your face and can only be accessed after scanning your facial features. While it is built mostly for the front camera, it’s also possible to use the rear camera by asking a friend to hold the phone. Dog/puppy face, flower crown, voice changer filters, etc. are among the most common Snapchat lenses.

Snapchat filters and lenses are used interchangeably — and justifiably so because even lenses are in some kind of filters — and most people don’t know the difference between the two. So, for the integrity of this post, we’ll just be using the term Snapchat filters to describe both of these features. That is, we’ll be calling the ‘dog face lens’ as the ‘dog filter’ to avoid any confusion.

How to Get Snapchat Filters

Inorder to start using Filters on your Snapchat, you must first enable Filters service from your settings. This will be disabled by default, so you’re going to want to enable it first if you want to access all the filters that are available to you.

To use Snapchat filters, enable the service by following the steps below:

  1. On your home screen, swipe down to access your profile screen.
  2. Tap on the Settings (screw) icon on the top right corner of your profile screen.
  3. On the Settings screen, scroll down and tap on ‘Manage’ under Additional Services.
  4. Under Additional Services, you will find ‘Filters’. Toggle it on (green).


Additionally, you may want to enable other services including Travel Mode, Friend Emojis, etc.

Now that you have enabled Snapchat Filters, you should now be able to access Geofilters and other additional or hidden filters. At this point, we’re assuming that you have given permission for Snapchat to access your location. Since Geofilters are location-based, you must allow Snapchat to access your location (GPS).

How To Use Snapchat Filters (and Lenses)

There are 8 Snapchat filters by default — different color tones like sepia, black and white, etc, speed filter, time filter and temperature filter. These are layovers that you can add to your photos and videos. These filters are available even before enabling the Filters services from your settings.

After you have enabled the Filters services from your Snapchat settings, you will get more Snapchat Filters based on your location. You will also get the day filter, and all the Geofilters available within the radius of your location.

To use Snapchat filters, take a photo or video using the Snapchat camera and then SWIPE left or right across the screen. Upon Swiping across left or right, you will be able to access all the filters and Geofilters that are available in your location.

It is also possible to use three Filters at a time. To do this, select a filter that you’d like to use. Tap and hold on to that filter with one hand and swipe across the screen with your other hand. When you have settled on the second filter, tap and hold on to the second filter again and swipe across the screen to access more filters.


To recap, simply swipe left or right across your photo or video to use Snapchat filters. Filters are only available after you have taken a photo or video.


We’ll now talk about the next kind of filters — this include, among others, the incredibly popular dog filters, flower crown filters, voice changer, face swap filters, etc.

While the correct term for this kind of filters is ‘Lenses’, we’ll be using both the terms ‘filters’ and ‘lenses’ interchangeably to avoid any confusion.

At the time of writing this post, there are 26 lenses in Snapchat. Most lenses are built to add special effects to your face and your voice. But there are also some lenses built for the rear camera, like the hot dog filter.

In order to start using lenses, open your Snapchat camera, switch to the front camera, then tap and hold on to the middle of the screen. The app should read your facial features and upon reading your face, the lenses should appear on your screen. Lenses are special effects that are bundled as small circles on your screen.

snapchat lenses

If lenses do no appear on the screen, tap and hold for a longer period of time. Remember, your face should be on the screen (hence the front camera).

Move from one lens to the other to access all the lenses. If it asks you to open your mouth or raise your eyebrows, do so to access the full effects. Some of the most popular lenses include dog face filter, face swap, unicorn filter, flower crown, etc. These are always available no matter how many updates Snapchat come up with.

When you have decided on a lens, you can either take a photo or video. To take a photo of yourself with the desired filter (lens), simply tap on the big circle at the bottom of the screen. To capture a video with the special effects, tap and hold on to the circle for as long as you want to record the video.

Remember, voice changer lenses only work on videos. After you have recorded a video snap, you can play it back to hear how the app has changed your voice.

Let us now take a look at the most popular filters on Snapchat individually.

Snapchat Birthday Filter

This is the most sought after filter on Snapchat. In order to use Birthday filters on Snapchat, you need to confirm your birthday. Go to Settings > My Account > Birthday. Enter your birthday and confirm your age. Snapchat birthday filter is available for only one day in a year.

When your birthday comes, a cake emoji will appear alongside your username so that your friends will know it’s your birthday and can send you wishes. Also, you’ll have access to a one-day only Birthday filter exclusively available to you.

To use the Birthday filter, go to lenses by tapping on the middle of the camera screen. A special Happy Birthday lens will be available exclusively for your use on this special day. Go crazy on it. It’s your birthday!

You can also make a special birthday Geofilter for this special day.

Birthday Geofilters are actually custom on-demand Geofilters created by people on their birthdays. Since it is a Geofilter, everyone within the radius of your specified geographic location (geofence) will be able to use this filter. This is especially helpful when you’re throwing a birthday party. Everyone at the party can use that filter and post photos and videos with your filter on it.

snapchat birthday filters

To create an on-demand custom Snapchat birthday filter, go to and design your own filter. Snapchat has a number of pre-designed templates to use. Of course, if you’re going to create your own birthday geofilter, you’ll need to make a small payment to create that filter.

Remember to create the filter a day or two before your birthday though. Snapchat requires a day to screen all custom geofilters submitted before approving it.

Snapchat Dog Filter

Dog filter or puppy face filter is one of the most popular filters (lenses) on Snapchat. Kylie Jenner is one of the many celebrities who make good use of this filter, obviously.

The Snapchat Dog Filter is actually a lens and is readily available in all updates.

In order to use Snapchat’s dog filter, go to your camera screen, turn on your front camera and activate lenses by tapping and holding on to the center of the screen until small circles appear at the bottom of the screen. Switch from one lens (circle) to the next until you find the dog/puppy filter.

snapchat dog filter

You can use the dog filter as a photo and a video. When you have found the dog filter, tap on the center circle to take a picture or hold on to the circle for as long as you want to capture the video. Open you mouth and extend your tongue out to make the dog face extend its tongue.

Snapchat Flower Filter

Like the dog filter, Snapchat’s Flower filter is also a lens, and is available in all updates of Snapchat. When activated, this filter will put a crown of flowers on your head and on anyone who’s face appears on the camera screen.

To use the Snapchat Flower filter, turn on lenses by going to your camera screen; turn on the front camera, tap and hold on to the center of the screen until lenses (circles) appear at the bottom of the screen. Switch from one lens to the next until you find the flower crown filter.


This filter can be used on more than one person so ask a friend to join you. When the app reads your faces, it will display a crown of flowers on your head.

To take a photo with the Snapchat flower filter, gently tap on the big circle at the bottom of the screen. To take a video with this filter on, tap and hold on to the big circle for as long as you want to record the video.

Remember that this filter also adds special effects to your face and eyes, making your face brighter and adding color to your eyes, giving you the appearance of a fairy.

Snapchat Speed Filter

Snapchat has a speed filter and it has been misused many times, causing accidents, even deaths. So a word to the wise, be careful when using this filter.

Snapchat’s Speed Filter is some sort of a speedometer. It measures your speed when taking a photo or a video. To use this filter, take a photo from your Snapchat camera. After having taken the photo, swipe across the middle of your screen until you come upon the filter. This will show your speed.

There has been a number of cases, though, that have raised concerns regarding the use of this filter. It has been reported that the speed filter encourages reckless driving. But as of now, the speed filter is still available and is readily accessible.

How to Get Hidden Snapchat Filters

There are hidden snapchat filters and lenses that you can unlock. These aren’t readily available to everyone. In order to access such hidden filters and lenses, you will have to scan Snapcodes that can unlock this filters. These snapcodes may appear in a tweet, an article or even a simple hyperlink may unlock a hidden filter. Snapcodes are special snapchat codes that look like QR codes in appearance. You can scan these snapcodes from your Snapchat app.

Snapcodes that can unlock hidden filters and lenses usually appear on websites and limited edition products. Where you may find these codes will vary. Also, what kind of filters these snapcodes may unlock will vary. For instance, the makers of Game of Thrones recently released a snapcode that unlocks hidden GOT filters on Snapchat.

Once you have found a snapcode containing hidden filters, scan the code from your Snapchat. To scan a Snapcode, open your Snapchat camera and switch to the rear (back) camera. Point the camera at the snapcode and long press the middle of the screen until it reads the code (your phone will vibrate when it does so). If you have taken a screenshot of the snapcode, you can also scan that from your Snapchat app.

Some hidden filters can also be unlocked using hyperlinks. If you click on a link that contains the hidden snapcode, you will be prompted to use the hidden filter.

When you have unlocked a hidden filter or lens using a snapcode or hyperlink, you will get a prompt ‘New Filter Found’ or ‘New Lens Found’. You have have access to this hidden filter for an hour or more depending on the way the filter is made.

If it is a hidden filter that you have unlocked, you can find this by swiping left or right across your screen after having taken a photo or video from your Snapchat camera.

If you have unlocked a hidden lens, this should be available on your lenses screen. Activate lenses by holding on to your front Snapchat camera. Switch from one lens to the next until you have found the hidden lens.

How To Make a Snapchat Filter

You can also create your own Snapchat Filter if you want to. Of course, you’ll need to pay a small fee of $5. But it could be totally worth it.

Snapchat introduced On-Demand Geofilters to meet the needs of users that want their own custom filters. This type of filters are available within a specified geographic location and any one within the vicinity of that location can use the filter.

For instance, someone may create a wedding party filter. If you’re attending the wedding, or simply walking past the building where the wedding takes place, you will have access to that filter. They are called Geofilters because they are accessible only within a specified geographical area.

To create your own Snapchat Geofilter, go to and click on ‘Create Now’.

You will first have to design the filter. Don’t worry. Snapchat has a lot of pre-loaded templates to choose from depending on your needs. Once you have decided on the design and have made necessary customization, you will need to set the time and location of when and where the filter will be available. If it’s a birthday party filter, you’ll need to get the date and time right. Similarly for a wedding party and other occasions. And then you will have to mark the location and area where the filter will be available. This is called Geofence. Setting a Geofence means that you are marking the area within which the custom geofilter will be available.

make snapchat filter

Once those are done, you will have to pay a $5 fee to Snapchat.

Not all custom on-demand geofilters are approved for use. Snapchat will screen your geofilter and approve or reject it depending on the contents. This screening process usually takes a day or less.

It is advised to create the custom filter at least two days prior to the day of the occasion because the approval process may take some time.


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