The CBC Centre Stage in Edmonton City Centre filled up quickly on Sunday during a meet-up for fans of Instagram, the hugely popular photo-sharing app.

"Come on in," called photographer Jesse Martineau, otherwise known by the Instagram handle @jesse.the.messe.

Martineau was demonstrating tips to take better portrait photographs for anyone who showed up for the @Yeggers_ InstaMeet 9.

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Edmonton photographers meet up for a learning and social opportunity at an InstaMeet. (John Robertson / CBC )

Launched in July 2010, Instagram claims to have more than 500 million users uploading 95 million smartphone photos each day.  

As a mobile only app, you can't easily post photos from your desktop. But Instagram is appealing for people who spend a lot of time tethered to a mobile device.

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Portrait photography was the focus of the #Yeggers InstaMeet9. (Rick Krull / @thatguyfromedmonton)

The idea is to snap a photo of something that catches your eye and then share it with your Instagram friends.

So how do you pull people away from their devices to interact with other humans?

At an InstaMeet — an event for people to get together and take photos, usually organized by an active Instagram group.

A location, time and hashtag are all agreed upon in advance.

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They may have only met online before, but today they are snapping pictures side by side. (Alishah Punjani / @exploringshots)

Then all the people you know only by their Instagram handles meet in one place.  

And you can actually talk to them face to face, or lens to lens as it were, through a shared passion for photography. All skill levels are welcome.

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People pack the CBC space to hear photography tips and tricks. (John Robertson / CBC)

Sunday's event was organized by the local online community @Yeggers_

The group was created four years ago by Brittney Punter. After hearing people call Edmonton ugly, she set out to prove them wrong. 

Since launching, the page has gained more than 31,000 followers, and it's still growing.

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Photographer Jylee Halsted captures double images of Karly Polkosnik (@kisforkarly) (Jylee Halsted / @jy363)

"The goal is to get people together, off of their devices and meeting people and interacting." Punter said.

"They may have come with, like, one other person but so far, most of them are strangers. But they are coming together and they are hanging out and they are taking photos together, and I think that is really cool."

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Photographer Rick Krull, known as @thatguyfromedmonton, demonstrates how to use a white balloon with a flash to get softer even light when taking portraits. (John Robertson / CBC )

Now the group is expanding into teaching, with the addition of mentors.

Martineau is a local photographer who's happy to share his knowledge with others.

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Alycia Stiebritz (@alycia_stiebritz) as seen through the lens of a photographer experimenting with portraiture. (@landon_n26)

"To actually jump out and try something new is really what today is about," he said. "And that is … the whole Yeggers philosophy: let's try something new.

"Let's get together and actually push ourselves in this creative realm that we all love."

Edmonton has an active Instagram community, with different meet-ups every month.

The photos generated show different sides of the winter city, sometimes from points of view that are unique.

All you need is a mobile device with a camera, and you can be a part of it too.

Closer to your community, one photo at a time.

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Instagram users gather for social gathering in Edmonton City Centre. (John Robertson / CBC)