If you use popular social media apps like Instagram, Facebook, or Snapchat, you have seen the amazing and unique filters and lenses people from all over the world have created. You might have the skills and passion to make some of these yourself! Additionally, you might be wondering if after making your masterpiece filter you can make some cash from your creation.
You can make money by creating filters on platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat, but not from the platforms themselves. Rather, you can make income by partnering and collaborating with influencers, businesses, and brands. You can also sell your filters, lenses, and photo presets online on your own personal website or sites like Etsy.com.
There is no one way to monetize on your digital creations, but if you create something trendy enough, you could find yourself in partnership with huge corporations that will pay thousands for your filter or lenses. Read on to learn how to create filters and how to make money from them.
How to Make Money from Original Instagram Filters
While Instagram (which is owned by Facebook) won’t pay you directly for use of your original filters, you can partner up with brands, companies, or corporations who will pay for your work and want to collaborate. When you work with partners in this capacity you can make money as an independent contractor for digital content (your IG filters) or on a regular basis.
Platforms that Help Sell Filters
You are not limited to Instagram to sell your filters, even if you made them specifically for the IG app. There are myriad ways to create, pitch and sell your filters, lenses, and presets!
Whether you are creating filters just for Instagram, or for other platforms such as Snapchat, you can bundle your pre-made filters and sell them on sites like Etsy. There is a demand for customizable and personalized filters, such as wedding filters, birthday filters, holiday filters, and political filters.
Snapchat will not directly pay a filter creator for their work. However, they go a step further than Instagram by directly partnering creators with brands for sponsored content and projects. If you’re thinking, ‘but Snapchat makes money off such an arrangement,’ think again! Snapchat makes zero income from partnering up filter creators like yourself and brands in search of creators.
What is Snapchat’s incentive? Successful users/creators reflect well on Snapchat and encourage people to utilize their platform over others. AR filters, specifically, resulted in between 7-9 million of the overall 13 million daily users of Snapchat in 2019. In fact, Viral lenses or filters have been key to Snapchat’s popularity, and are why Instagram co-opted the same technology for their platform as well.
Those who create 3D filters are known as Lens Creators. These types of filters create a 3D, augmented form of reality and are the most top-performing kind of filters available on platforms like Snapchat and Instagram. Some content creators can make tens of thousands of dollars from 3D lenses when partnered with brands like Nike and Fanta.
How to Turn Filter Views into Cash
Let’s say you’ve made some amazing photo filters or 3D lenses that people are using like crazy. You look at your lens stats and see that 5 million people have viewed or used it. Unfortunately, these views do not instantly accumulate into cash on platforms like IG or Snapchat, like they might on sites like YouTube, which allow you to monetize based on viewership.
However, that viewership can pave the way for your partnerships, which is where you’ll make all the cash. With lenses and filters that have millions of views or users, you can arrange meetings with individuals, businesses, and top-tier corporations. If you have a pitch for how to leverage your 3D augmented filters, for example, you might be able to seal the deal with bigwigs like Coke or Adidas.
How do You Make Instagram Filters?
There are a few different ways to make filters. One of the easiest begin to utilize the Spark AR program (for Instagram) or Lens Studio (for Snapchat). For the purposes of this article, let’s look at Spark AR’s Instagram program with this step-by-step tutorial:
- Step 1 – download Spark AR on your computer (available for both Mac and Windows)
- Step 2 – scroll through tutorials located in the Learning Center of the application to learn how to navigate the program
- Step 3 – choose one of eight templates to start creating a new filter
- Step 4 – from this point, you’ll be given a placeholder object on which to model your IG filter creation. Within the central panel (viewpoint) you’ll begin building the filter. You’ll notice an iPhone model in the right-hand corner. This is used as a simulator to show how it’ll appear on your device. On the left-hand side is your toolbar, where you’ll pick and choose the desired shapes and effects for your filter.
- Step 5 – Select a 3D asset from the Spark AR Library, or if you have an asset in mind, you can import it from your own collection.
- Step 6 – adjust and edit the movement and overall behavior of your selected ‘asset.’ To create an optimized 3D effect, be sure to pay attention to things like ambient lighting from the top and the bottom, as well as color, depth, camera movement, and textures.
- Step 7 – test it out! To see if your effects work, send the test file to the desired application (either IG or Facebook) and test it on one of your stories. Another way to test your filter is by download the smartphone app, Spark AR Player APP.
- Step 8 – once you’re sure you love your new filter, publish it! Your filter will go under review first before it is approved for use, but this typically only takes a few days. After it is given the green light, you can use the filter to your heart’s content! And encourage friends and followers to do the same!
Other Ways to Make Money on Instagram
When you create lenses and photoshop, and lightroom preset filters, you can sell these for a good sum of money on sites like Etsy or your own personal website. The best way to fully capitalize on your own digital creations is by building your own website.
If you host your filters on your site, you can do paid advertisements on Instagram so that people scrolling through stories related to your filters might stumble upon your product and make a first-time purchase.
Plenty of photographers and editors alike, who have already created pre-made filters for their own personal use, capitalize on this by selling to folks who have no photoshop skills, but hope to make their iPhone photos for Instagram look just as professional. Now that apps like Lightroom and Photoshop are available on smart phones, it makes it that much easier for people to purchase presets and use in an instant!
AClothesHorse, a whimsical fashion blogger and photographer from Northern Ireland, monetizes on her skillfully created photo presets by listing and selling them on her website. Additionally, she links these presets when releasing new photos and branded content, so that she is always enticing her audience to be likeminded and purchase the presets.
The Key Take Away
While the social media platforms themselves will not pay you for the right to host your filters on their app, they do present the opportunity to connect with brands and businesses who see the value in your work.
When your filters and lenses garner millions of views and go viral, you won’t even have to do the leg work to reach out to brands, they will come to you. This is by far the best way to monetize on your Instagram filters. Don’t forget to sell them to your followers from your website or Etsy page as well to get the most out of your creation!