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Filter or no filter -- that is the question!

Mother's Take / Daughter's Take

Ah, Snapchat! I learned this app specifically because my kids wanted to download it. What I quickly learned is that it has filters that can make your face look amazing! Being a mom with older teen children, I love the “no eye bags” and “no wrinkles” look that filters can give me. It makes turning the camera around and taking a selfie not nearly as horrifying.

My daughter does not seem to take advantage of these types of filters, though. She frequently sends me Snapchat pictures with either no filter at all (gasp) or a crazy filter (like her face on a strawberry). She often picks her filters based on comedy, while I am definitely going for something that will make me better looking.

I downloaded Snapchat on my 16th birthday. My mom definitely made me wait way longer than any of my friends. When I first got it, I used all the craziest filters I could find. My first favorite was the one that put my head on two figure skaters at the same time. I love using silly ones like “strawberry head” and such.

There are lots of different filters that alter your face to make your eyes bigger, cheeks thinner, and skin smoother. However, a lot of those come with kitten ears or something kind of tacky. I mostly use them when I am sending the occasional silly snap to a friend.

Me and my other daughter with a beauty filter.

When you are over 40, Snapchat filters can be an unexpected delight. This is only if you quickly click on the filter when you turn the camera around. Man, that first glance of your close-up in the camera is not always pleasant, but it is much more fun with the right filter! Filters finally give us regular people the Hollywood starlet flawless makeup look to which we mistakenly compare ourselves. The stars have teams of people making them look amazing -- so, why can’t we take some dazzling pictures, as well? This works as long as we don’t rely on them too heavily and expect ourselves to always look flawless.

I discovered a filter that smoothed out your face and nothing else one day. It didn’t look like I was wearing a filter. I just looked a little enhanced. After using that filter too many times, I found myself thinking my face in pictures without the filter was ugly. I used it in every snap I sent for years.

Nowadays, I hardly use any filters. My confidence has improved with the front-facing camera on my phone, and that feels good. However, I still use the occasional “banana filter” because, after all, it is Snapchat.

My kids and basically one other friend regularly receive Snapchats from me, and when I say regularly, that is pushing it. In fact, I tried to keep a Snapchat streak going once or twice and could not do it. I am just not getting the lure of taking a random picture of the ceiling or floor and typing a basic text to someone over it to “snap” them and keep a streak going. Why not just send a text? My mom would say, why send a text -- just call!

Filters are fun! They take pictures to a new level for the average joe. We have found though that we need to use filters in moderation (and always sprinkle in the silly ones) because when you always use filters, the real you just won't seem good enough -- and that is not o.k.

So filter or no filter? It depends.

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