We had the good fortune of connecting with Devin McGurgan and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Devin, have there been any changes in how you think about work-life balance?
When I first started my business, I was willing to give up a significant amount of personal time, including holidays, anniversaries, birthdays, etc., to build my clientele and grow my business. This was necessary at the start when I was hustling to build my brand recognition and carve out my niche in the crowded wedding photography space. After three years, I had a full book of business booked 1+ years in advance. Then, COVID impacted the service industry in a way no one ever expected, which ultimately led to two years worth of weddings being packed into a few short months. This meant I had to work around the clock for the better part of a year to shoot, edit, and deliver weddings in a timely manner that were up to my standards of what I provide to my couples. By default, this also meant my personal time was almost nonexistent and pushed me to think about balance differently moving forward. Coming out on the other side of this work blitz, I’ve created boundaries in my business in order to create balance — for example, I only book a certain number of weddings per year and carve out specific editing time to work on projects. This keeps me inspired and motivated to work on projects and gives me the time I need to be present in my personal life, ultimately resulting in a very fulfilling life!
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I am a wedding photographer. I have a photojournalism background, so my images are documentary, candid, genuine, and romantic. I always get to know my couples before I’m ever in front of them with a camera. This gives us a chance to build a chemistry with each other so that when it comes time for the photo session, my couples are incredibly comfortable in front of the camera. This enables me to capture them as they naturally are together. When I first started out, I thought my images should be light and airy because that’s what I was seeing in the industry. But shoot after shoot, I realized that aesthetic was not how I was interpreting my images. At this point, I went to a photography workshop on the northern coast of California and learned my aesthetic can be unique and reflect what I see in the camera. From there, my style evolved into a dark, moody aesthetic, which sets me a part to clients who are looking for my particular look. I’ve learned it is good to be different and to follow your creative intuition, because you will then attract clients who are the best match for your work.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I live in Hoboken, NJ, which is a very special city to me and the namesake of my business — Mile Square Moments. Hoboken is home to ~52,000 people and is only one square mile in size, so it is affectionately known as the Mile Square City. I capture love stories in this city, so the name Mile Square Moments felt the most fitting. If my best friend was visiting, we’d spend the entire week in Hoboken. We would start with coffee from one of my favorite coffee shops — The Hive. I’d also make sure we had margaritas and tacos from my favorite restaurant in town — Orale. We’d also walk Washington Street, which is the main drag in Hoboken with lots of shops and restaurants. I’d also make a reservation to hit a wine bar with live music like Grand Vin. I have so many favorite local spots here in Hoboken, so we’d hop around to them so my guest could get a true sense of Hoboken and all it has to offer.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I’d like to shout out my husband for being my #1 supporter throughout my business venture — he encourages my dreams and regularly reminds me I’m capable of accomplishing them. I would not be where I am today without his love and support. I’d also like to shout out my local creative community for their mentorship.