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Meet Kyle McCarty of 85 South Photography in Long Beach

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kyle McCarty.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Kyle. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I actually started photography to help my music career. I moved to Los Angeles from North Carolina in 2018 to help my music and I wanted to document that drive across the country so I purchased a camera. Back then, I had no idea how to work a camera and when I took pictures in direct sunlight, every picture came out white. I was so confused and just thought I bought a faulty camera. After I got to LA, I took it to a camera shop and all the guy had to do was reset the settings…the exposure was jacked up super high. (insert facepalm). But once that was fixed and my pictures came out normal, I fell in love with it. Everything about it. The walking around aimlessly just looking for cool things to capture. Seeing something but laying on the ground to take a picture of it to capture it from a cool angle. Just the pursuit of a good shot. Now photography is a huge part of my life. It’s my therapy when I need a break from my work desk or just need some alone time but away from Netflix or video games.

And to explain the name, Highway 85 is a huge highway on the east coast that goes north and south. I was born in New Jersey and highway 95 turns into 85 and that passes all the way through North Carolina to Florida. It’s a tribute to something that reminds me of my birthplace and the place I grew up.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Absolutely not. Like I said before, entering photography I had no clue about anything. Exposure, settings, nothing. My whole plan was to document my 5-7 day journey across the U.S. and capture awesome content for my music. Cities like Memphis, Nashville, Flagstaff, Albuquerque, Vegas. I saw so many cool things that I wasn’t able to record or take pictures of. Of course, I have them on my phone but it would’ve been 10x better to capture them on my real camera. That was a huge gut check. It’s one of those things where I could’ve easily said this wasn’t for me and pawned my gear. Thank god for Valley Photo Service in The Valley. They fixed my camera and helped me fall in love with this amazing art form.

85 South Photography – what should we know? What do you do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
85 South Photography specializes in digital photography. I pride myself in not conforming to the “over-polished” style that seems to be the norm in this field. You know, the overly photoshopped edits where the model’s skin is smoother than marble floors. I don’t like altering something or someone to the point where authenticity is lost. Of course, I’ll do my edits and give the picture a mood and add flavor, but I still want to maintain some sort of reality and not produce an overly touched image. I rarely use lighting for shoots, I like to lean on natural lighting. It just creates a more realistic photo. The sun is the perfect light bulb, use it.

What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
Honestly, and not to be cheesy or win you guys over…doing this interview. It’s almost like receiving an inquiry for my services. To know someone is interested about me and my artwork is super gratifying. It’s one of those things that reminds me I’m on the right path and that releases some dopamine. So thank you for this.

Contact Info:


Image Credit:
All images shot/edited by Kyle McCarty, 85 South Photography

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