Lessons From SMBYEG 32

Lessons From SMBYEG 32

Not sure what SMBYEG is? It stands for Social Media Breakfast Edmonton and it’s “a place for social media aficionados & beginners to discuss effective practices, past experiences and new techniques.” To learn more about SMBYEG, visit their About Us page.

So why is breakfast in the name? Every month, they host a morning event where attendees can munch on snacks, socialize, and listen to someone speak on a social media topic. Here’s some lessons from SMBYEG 32, which was all about capturing “everyday beauty through a smart phone lens.”

Photography Tips

The first presenter was Carmyn Joy Effa (@carmynjoy), who urged us to always consider light, composition, and post-processing when taking photos.


Some key points about using light in your photos:

  • Pay attention to the way light falls on objects
  • Use both light and shadows to your advantage
  • Natural light always looks better


Carmyn also had some wonderful composition tips for us!

Tip #1: Experiment

  • Try taking the photo in different ways – different angles, different ranges, etc.
  • Ask yourself: what is interesting about this shot?
  • Experiment with focus and exposure settings on your device

Tip #2: Be Intentional

  • Take your time to consider the whole frame and account for what’s in it
  • Be deliberate about where to cut off people or horizons
  • Resist the tendency to get too close in photos

Tip #3: Consider The Principles of Gestalt

  • Our minds automatically try to create order in what we see
  • Create landing points for your viewers. Some examples:
    • Focus on the forefront in busy scenes
    • Give your audience a line to follow
    • Use edits to simplify the photo

Tip #4: The Tools

  • Carmyn’s favorite app is VSCO CAM
  • A self-timer app can help you capture yourself in photos
  • Try each filter to see which is best for your photo


The second presenter was Devin Komarniski (@devinkomarniski) who explained how to use Instagram for your business. Devin knows a thing or two about this, having previously worked on the Hope Mission (@hopemission) Instagram account! Some of his talking points included:

Why Should We Use Instagram?

  • Photos are quick and easy to consume
  • The content has a longer shelf-life (in the news feed) than Twitter and Facebook
  • There’s a greater chance people will see your photo, since:
    • They tend to follow less users on Instagram
    • There are no algorithms to determine who sees what in their feed.
  • The audience is unique (demographic leans towards younger, more creative people)

Standard Practices For Businesses Using Instagram:

  • Use minimal filters and effects
  • Never post dark, blurry, or grainy photos
  • Have a focus and a story
  • Every photo should be unique and inspired
  • Make sure your brand is represented (i.e. occasionally including a logo or business colors in photos)
  • Use word graphics and videos sparingly (because they’re less engaging than photos)

Find Followers For Your Instagram Account By:

  • Lurking – find similar organizations and follow their followers
  • Use hashtags – but only use a couple per photo and keep them relevant
  • Engage with others by commenting on their photos
  • Link from other sites to your Instagram account
  • Advertise your Instagram account on print materials

Hope you enjoyed the wonderful advice from Carmyn and Devin! I know I sure did. See you at the next SMBYEG event!

Sarah Katyi

An alumna of the University of Alberta, Sarah graduated with a degree in business. In her spare time, she is an Oilers fan, entrepreneur, yoga-lover, and paint-by-numbers expert.

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