Where Are IG Filters? A Comprehensive Guide to Finding and Using Instagram’s Creative Tools

Instagram filters have become synonymous with the platform itself. They’re the playful, transformative tools that allow users to enhance their photos, add a touch of whimsy, and create engaging content. But with the ever-evolving landscape of Instagram, it can be easy to get lost in the maze of features and wonder, “Where are those filters?” This comprehensive guide will answer that question, taking you through the process of finding and using Instagram’s creative tools, whether you’re a seasoned user or a curious beginner.

The Evolution of Instagram Filters: From Classic to Creative

Instagram filters have a fascinating history, evolving from simple color adjustments to sophisticated augmented reality experiences.

  • Early Days: Instagram launched with a set of 10 classic filters, each providing a distinct look and feel. These filters were designed to mimic the aesthetic of classic film photography, offering a nostalgic touch to digital images.
  • The Rise of AR Filters: The introduction of augmented reality (AR) filters in 2016 marked a turning point. These filters, often created by third-party developers, introduced playful elements like masks, animated graphics, and interactive experiences. The potential for creativity exploded, with users embracing AR filters to add a touch of personality and humor to their stories.
  • The “Effects” Tab: Instagram’s interface underwent a significant change in 2020, consolidating filters and effects into a single “Effects” tab. While this simplified navigation, it also left some users feeling confused about the location of their favorite filters.

Finding Instagram Filters: A Step-by-Step Guide

Now that you understand the history of filters on Instagram, let’s dive into the practicalities. Here’s how to find and use filters for photos and videos:

1. Filters for Photos:

  • In the Camera App: When you open the Instagram camera app, you’ll see a row of icons at the bottom. The icon labeled “Effects” (the one with a smiley face) contains both traditional filters and AR filters.
  • Browsing Filters: Swipe left on the “Effects” tab to browse through the available filters. You can explore popular filters, those suggested for you, or tap on the magnifying glass to search for specific filters by name or keyword.
  • Applying a Filter: Once you’ve selected a filter, tap the screen to take a photo or hold down the button to record a video. The filter will be applied in real-time.

2. Filters for Stories:

  • Direct Access: When you open the Instagram Stories camera, you’ll find the “Effects” tab located at the bottom of the screen, right next to the recording button.
  • Browse and Apply: Swipe through the available filters, including both AR filters and traditional filters. To apply a filter, tap on it and then record or take a picture.

Understanding the Different Types of Filters:

Instagram’s filter library offers a diverse range of tools, each catering to different creative needs. Here’s a breakdown of the main categories:

1. Traditional Filters:

  • Color Adjustments: These filters primarily focus on altering the color temperature, contrast, and saturation of your image. They offer subtle changes to enhance your photo’s overall mood and tone.
  • Black & White: These filters transform your photo into a monochromatic masterpiece, emphasizing details and textures. They can add a classic, timeless feel to your images.
  • Artistic Effects: Filters in this category mimic the effects of different film stocks or artistic styles, adding a unique artistic touch to your photographs.

2. AR Filters:

  • Masks: AR filters are known for their playful masks that cover your face or even create entirely new characters. They offer endless possibilities for entertainment, humor, and creative expression.
  • Interactive Effects: These filters go beyond simple masks, adding dynamic elements that respond to your movements or touch. Think animated graphics, playful effects, and interactive games.

Finding Your Perfect Filter: Tips and Tricks

While Instagram offers a wide selection of filters, finding the perfect one for your specific needs can be overwhelming. Here are a few tips to help you navigate the filter library:

  • Start with the Basics: If you’re new to filters, explore the classic filter options first. Get a feel for their effects and how they can subtly enhance your photos.
  • Experiment with AR Filters: Don’t be afraid to play with AR filters. You might discover some unexpected and fun options that you never knew existed.
  • Follow Influencers: Many influencers and photographers share their favorite filters. Follow those you admire to get inspiration and discover new filter options.
  • Save Your Favorites: You can save filters you like to your “favorites” section, making them easy to find and use again later.

Beyond Basic Filters: Unleashing Your Creativity

Once you’ve mastered the basics of Instagram filters, you can delve into more advanced techniques to elevate your content.

1. Create Your Own Filters:

With Spark AR Studio, Instagram’s filter creation platform, you can design your own AR filters. This gives you complete control over the look, feel, and functionality of your filter, allowing you to create truly unique and personalized experiences.

2. Combine Filters:

Don’t limit yourself to using just one filter. You can layer multiple filters, both traditional and AR, to create a unique and layered effect. Experiment with combining filters to achieve the perfect aesthetic for your image.

3. Use Filters Strategically:

Think about the context and purpose of your post before choosing a filter. A filter that might work well for a playful story might not be appropriate for a professional photo.

The Future of Filters: Embracing Innovation

Instagram filters continue to evolve, incorporating new technologies and creative possibilities. The future of filters is likely to be even more interactive, personalized, and immersive. Expect to see:

  • Enhanced Reality Features: Filters will increasingly blend seamlessly with your environment, creating more believable and captivating augmented reality experiences.
  • Personalized Filters: AI-powered filters will learn your preferences and suggest filters that align with your style and content.
  • Interactive Storytelling: Filters will enable new forms of storytelling, allowing users to create interactive experiences that involve viewers.


Instagram filters have become an integral part of the platform’s creative landscape. Whether you’re looking to enhance your photos, add a touch of fun to your stories, or express yourself in unique ways, filters offer a powerful toolset. By understanding the basics, exploring the options, and embracing innovation, you can unlock the potential of Instagram filters and elevate your content to new heights. So go out there, experiment, and discover the endless possibilities of filters on Instagram!


Where can I find IG filters?

IG filters, also known as effects, can be found in the Instagram camera. To access them, simply open the Instagram app and tap the camera icon in the top left corner. Once you’re in the camera view, you’ll see a series of filter icons at the bottom of the screen. Swipe left or right to browse through the available options.

You can also access filters while recording a video or taking a photo within Instagram stories. These filters are more elaborate and include interactive elements and augmented reality features.

What are the different types of Instagram filters?

Instagram offers a variety of filters that cater to different aesthetic preferences and editing needs. Basic filters adjust the overall tone and color of your image, while more advanced filters can enhance specific features like brightness, contrast, and saturation.

Beyond standard photo filters, you can also find effects that add creative elements to your stories, such as masks, animations, and interactive elements.

How can I apply a filter to my Instagram photo?

To apply a filter to a photo, open the Instagram camera and tap the camera icon to take a picture or select an image from your gallery. Then, swipe through the filter options displayed at the bottom of the screen. Once you find a filter you like, tap on it to apply it to your photo.

You can adjust the intensity of the filter by tapping on the filter name and using the slider to control the effect’s strength.

How can I create my own Instagram filter?

While Instagram doesn’t offer a built-in feature to create your own filters, you can create custom filters using third-party apps or platforms. These apps provide tools to design and apply filters, then allow you to share your creations on Instagram.

Some popular options include Spark AR Studio and Lens Studio. Both offer comprehensive editing tools and allow you to experiment with augmented reality features to create unique and engaging filters.

Can I save my favorite IG filters?

Yes, you can save your favorite filters for quick access. To save a filter, simply tap and hold on the filter icon. This will pin the filter to the top of your filter tray, making it easier to find and use again later.

You can also save filters you find while browsing other users’ stories. Tap on the filter name at the top of the screen to view more details and then tap the “save effect” icon to add it to your collection.

Are there any hidden IG filters?

While there are no official “hidden” filters, Instagram regularly updates its filter library with new effects. You can find these new filters by scrolling through the filter options in the camera or by exploring the filters available in Instagram Stories.

Additionally, specific filter categories are often hidden by default and can be revealed by tapping the “Explore” button in the filter tray.

How do I use interactive IG filters?

Interactive filters, also known as effects, add a playful and engaging element to your Instagram stories. To use an interactive filter, simply tap on the face icon in the camera view.

This will open a menu of available filters, including AR effects that respond to your movements or facial expressions. To activate the filter, tap on the filter icon, then follow the instructions on screen to interact with it.

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