How to become a verified lens creator on Snapchat in 2021
How do you get verified on Snapchat? Being a verified lens creator aka Official Lens Creator aka OLC myself, I'm asked that question a lot. Anyone is free to create and publish their own lenses (augmented reality filters) on Snapchat, but only a select few are recognized for their efforts with verification and the gold star. Creating lenses is not the only path to verification on Snapchat, but it is often seen as an "easy" path to verification by many people. Here I'll be going over the questions and misconceptions I hear the most along with my tips to help you succeed as a lens creator.
Frequently asked questions
How many views do I need to be verified?
This may be one of the most common questions I hear when it comes to becoming a verified lens creator. The answer is that it does not matter how many views your lenses are getting. My total views were in the millions when I became an OLC, but I also know creators whose total views numbered in the billions before they became OLCs. A large number of views can certainly help put you on Snapchat's radar, but there is no threshold of views that they are looking for.
Can I pay you for verification?
I do not work for Snapchat so I definitely do not have the ability to verify you no matter how much money you may offer. Furthermore, Snap themselves state they verification has no cost, and anyone claiming to be able to sell you verification is not legitimate. If you were able to buy verification, I have a feeling it would not last very long and you would probably be at risk of having your account banned. So under no circumstances should you be trying to pay someone to get your account verified.
Can you put me in contact with the right person at Snapchat to get my account verified?
I am also unable to put you in contact with someone at Snapchat for verification. As an OLC, I do have contact with some Snapchat employees, but the last thing I am going to do is start handing out their contact information. If that were the proper route to verification, they would have made their contact information public.
What sorts of lenses do I need to make to be verified?
This is yet another question with no answer; the Lens Studio team is not looking for anything in particular. Augmented reality is at the intersection of multiple disciplines so there are many different types of lenses you could make. It entirely depends on your background and what you want to do.
The correct path to becoming a verified lens creator
I want to make it abundantly clear that I do not work for Snap nor am I authorized to speak on their behalf with regards to verification. But, being an OLC myself and having helped others develop their skills, I do want to share what I think will help if you do want to become an OLC. There is no guarantee that following these steps will land you in the OLC program, but they will help set you up for success as a lens creator.
Be passionate about augmented reality
Making lenses is not an easy path to becoming verified on Snapchat. If you look at the official support site for Lens Studio, part of the mission of the OLC program is helping you achieve your personal augmented reality (AR) goals. Part of my acceptance into the program was a phone call with Snapchat. I don't remember everything we talked about, but I do remember they asked what I hoped to do with AR. I hadn't been creating long at the time, but I knew I loved making lenses and wanted to do more of it. If you are making lenses with the sole goal of becoming verified, that lack of passion is going to show.
Please use the templates that Lens Studio (LS) provides. Please watch tutorials. But please also move beyond the templates and tutorials. I love the LS templates and use them quite often. Not every lens has to be created from scratch and the templates help automate a lot of repetitive tasks. But customizing the base templates alone is not enough to become an OLC. The same goes for tutorials. I enjoy making tutorials, but I also watch a lot of tutorials because there is so much I'm still learning. Seeing lenses that people created by watching my tutorials is an awesome feeling, but you also need to be able to move past the tutorials. Don't stop using the templates and don't stop watching tutorials, but make sure you aren't using them as a handicap. You don't need to master every aspect of Lens Studio, but you should be able to sit down and create a lens from a blank project. And if you can't do that yet, keep practicing until you can. Build that foundation of knowledge and then keep building on top of it.
Tell a story
For this tip I do not practice what I preach because my lenses are all over the place. But, telling a story with your lenses might work for you. There are some creators who publish their lenses in batches and each batch tells a story or follows a theme. We often focus on the technical aspect of lens creation, but don't forget there's an artistic aspect as well. You don't need to be the most technically proficient lens creator out there for Snapchat to recognize your talent.
This one is a little harder to measure, but be involved with other creators and the community. Answer questions on the official forum, but make sure you aren't answering just for the sake of appearing involved; give useful answers. I've learned a lot by reading through what others post and by trying to figure out the solution to someone else's problem.
Besides the forum, there's a Facebook group, a Subreddit, and a Discord server. Share your work, ask for feedback, and help others.
Learn new skills
The bottom line
There is no shame in wanting to be a verified lens creator. That gold star is a nice validation of one's skills and something to show for all the work that goes into making lenses. But be sure that you aren't creating lenses with the sole goal of verification. The OLC program was setup to help people grow as augmented reality artists and developers; it was not created as a way to hand out verification to anyone with a popular lens.