One of the joys of social media is that we’re able to control the information that we broadcast, giving specific energy to those special moments and interesting finds that we share with our network of contacts. With the addition of stickers to the popular app Snapchat, you can add a vibrant expressiveness to all of your snaps; we’re here to show you how to use them.
Since it was first introduced, Snapchat has exploded in popularity, rising to compete with other social media giants like Facebook. Its appeal comes from its unique way that users deliver content to each other. In a true “Mission Impossible” style, your Snapchat messages have a sliver of a lifespan from the moment that someone first views them. After seeing a snap, it will only have seconds afterwards before it “self-destructs,” and you’re unable to see it again. On top of that, Snapchatters are encouraged to upload their moments “in-the-moment,” rather than from a saved, static library of media tucked away on their phone. Though some third-party apps allow you to work around this, Snapchat itself requires you to take the videos or photos that you want to upload from within the app.
Awesome, shareable moments aren’t going to wait for you to find the right lighting, and so it’s important to be quick! This means having your smartphone at the ready, and also knowing how to navigate the Snapchat app as if it were an extension of yourself. With all of the new features that have been added to this massively popular application since its inception, there’s actually a surprising amount to learn, and even more to master if you truly want to be a Snapchatting connoisseur.
The big library of “stickers” that were recently added in Snapchat’s “Chat 2.0” update are most likely a result of the company acquiring Bitstrips. As a result, users have more ways than ever to enhance the visual appeal of their stories and snaps, but turning goofy fun into viral masterpieces is going to take some practice, experimentation, and know-how as to how the rest of the Snapchat app works.
Snapping in the Moment
First things first–you’re going to need to actually take some snaps if you want to take advantage of Snapchat’s new sticker feature. They’re only accessible once you’ve taken a photo or recorded a video that you intend to share, which means that you’re going to need to do some learning on-the-fly! Once you get the hang of it, however, you’ll have a fresh and interesting way to add visual flair to all of your Snapchat media! (And you just know they’re going to be adding more stickers in successive updates…)
If you’re a Snapchat newbie (hey, it’s okay!), then you’ll need to learn a tiny bit about the Snapchat interface and how it works. Even though the app boasts a huge set of fun and useful features, now, the foundation that keeps it sturdy and keeps it growing is the unique form of “self-destructing” image and video sharing. Other social media apps let you share media and chat with your friends, but none of them do it quite so energetically as Snapchat.
The app does everything it can to encourage you to partake, too. From the moment that you open it up, you’ll be presented with whatever is currently in your camera’s viewfinder; this is, literally, your Snapchat home screen. You can either tap the shutter button once to take a single shot, or hold it for a longer press if you want to shoot a little bit of video. If you have your smartphone in hand, go ahead and give it a try. We can take these stickers to the testing grounds, together.
Enhancing Your Snaps
Finding a moment in your own life that you see as worth sharing is fun, but choosing how you’re going to deliver it to the wider world is a blast. Rather than just letting you broadcast, Snapchat gives its users control of how their snaps are interpreted, providing ample supplies of stylistic tools to enhance and shape your snap as you see fit. More than many other apps out there, Snapchat truly takes advantage of your smartphones versatility, perhaps even in ways that you took for granted.
As soon as you snap an image or video, you’ll notice the interface changing slightly. Several options pop up around the frame of the app, none of which are immediately explained. That’s okay! We can walk through them briefly on our way to stickers.
- Text. Let’s start with the basics, shall we? You’ll notice an uppercase “T” at the top of your screen, nestled between a few other icons. Tapping on this will give you access to the text feature, allowing you to caption and mark up your snap with the magic of words. Does your image or video need an explanation? If so, this will let you add it!
- Drawing. Right next to the “T,” you’ll an icon that looks vaguely like a pencil or pen. Give it a tap and you’ll be presented with a color gradient just below, allowing you to select the color that you want to draw in. That’s right; you can use your smartphone’s touchscreen to doodle anything you want over your snap!
- Stickers. Here we are, finally. Right at the other side of your text markup icon is one that looks like a tiny label. If you’re ready to gain access to over 200 emoji and GIFs then select this to be taken to a different menu. When the sticker interface pops up, you’ll first see an army of emoji that is probably familiar to you. However, if you think this single page of familiar emotive faces is all you’ve got to choose from, you’re in for a pleasant surprise.Look at the bottom of the stickers window and you’ll see several different categories that each holds their own little library of correlating emoji and stickers. If you’re not exactly a touch-screen artist, or if the idea of filling your snap with text isn’t the most appealing thing in the world, then slap on some theme-appropriate stickers and let these little nuggets of art augment your snaps for you!
- Timer. If you look at the bottom of your screen, you’ll see a few more icons. The most important of these is the timer, and it looks like a little stopwatch. By adjusting this number, you can control how long people will have to view your snaps!
- Save. Though you can’t do much to extend the length of time you have to view other peoples’ snaps, you can certainly save your own for as long as you’d like. They’re your moments, after all. Use the download icon to save the flashy-looking snap to your phone’s memory.
- Story! One of the most game-changing features added to the Snapchat system is the ability to create stories. Rather than posting a series of static snaps throughout your day that exists apart from each other, you can tie your snaps together into a sequencing story that can be viewed for up to 24 hours. Not only is this significantly longer than the several seconds you usually have to view snaps, it lets you use your snaps to piece together a narrative.
Believe it or not, this is only the tip of the Snapchat iceberg. We haven’t even touched the video calls, messaging, or contact lists in this guide, and all of them tie into the above features in intricate ways. However, this will give you a good primer on how to set up your snaps; a launching pad from which you can explore!
For now, let’s see if we can discover a little more about stickers…
Stickers and Beyond
Posting stickers willy-nilly will certainly catch the eyes of your fellow Snapchatters, but it’s not a guaranteed way to make your snaps appealing. That’s going to take some practice, and some time spent exploring the huge number of graphics that you can choose from. Here are a few handy stylistic tips:
- Don’t let your stickers cover up the “action” of your snaps! The center of your camera frame should be filled with the subject of your shot. While stickers are fun, don’t let them take center-stage!
- A sticker parade will only ever be a sticker parade. The fact that you have over 200 to choose from doesn’t mean that you need to use all 200! If you want your sticker-bearing snaps to keep their appeal, don’t apply stickers from too many separate “themes.” Your fellow Snapchatters’ attention spans will thank you!
- Embrace symmetry! Want to put stickers over your subject’s eyes? Make sure to get them both! If you put a sticker in the corner of the frame, consider adding something to the other corners, too. Your viewers only have mere seconds to view your snap (unless you’re telling a story), so you should do everything you can to make your image immediately pleasing to the eye.
The list of tips, tricks, and fun nuance could go on and on, but the above should give you some great ideas to get started with. With any hope, we’ve moved beyond the “how to get started with Snapchat stickers stage” and are ready to move on to “becoming a sticker master!”