We recently had the opportunity to chat and catch up with Chad Montano, or @briewilly as his fans know him, a food creator, recipe developer and content creator. Just take one look at his Instagram and you’ll see just how drool-worthy his recipes look. We asked him to take us BTS of what it takes to get the perfect shot (check it out over on @perfectbar)! Here we get to know the man behind the camera, what actually goes into creating his delicious recipes, and if being a food photographer really just means playing with your food all day.
I grew up eating all sorts of healthy and unhealthy food. My mom was a single mother with 3 kids that worked 2 jobs so she didn’t always have time for home-cooked meals. We had to resort to a lot of fast food because it was cheap and quick. Maybe this is why I was always a husky kid and I may have been worse off if it wasn’t for all of the sports I was playing. It wasn’t until I got older when I started learning more about nutrition and how to cook healthy food. To this day I still enjoy eating pizza or a nice juicy burger but everything has to come in moderation.
The biggest challenge with nutrition is understanding that it is NOT a temporary diet that you do for 60 days to look good in a bathing suit. You have to make a complete lifestyle change in order to feel good, look good, and have your body working in its most optimal state. If you have an unhealthy meal, a cheat day, or let loose on tacos and margaritas on your vacation don’t stress out. Just enjoy it and then get back on the grind! Food has become a huge part of my life especially because of work. Along the way, I indulge in some pretty delicious and unhealthy foods sure, but the most important thing to remember is to not lose focus and discipline on the big picture which is longevity and health.
At a young age, I developed a passion for cooking. I remember watching my grandma in Mexico make the most amazing homemade Mexican food that you could smell from down the street! Tasting different flavors and watching the techniques made me curious to learn more. Today, I cook pretty much every day and I never get tired of it. My passion for photography came into play when I was about 26. I was shooting mostly landscape and portrait photography. A few years later (around 2014) I noticed that Instagram was becoming extremely popular with food photos. Since I already loved cooking and photography, I decided to marry the two together and try out this “food photography” thing. At first, I had NO IDEA know what I was doing but over the years I have learned so much and I’m happy to see how far my skills have developed. It has become a business that has allowed me to work with so many amazing brands like Perfect Bar!
In order to get “the perfect shot” you need to plan and prepare! A well-composed image begins first with the mental picture. I envision what I want my photo to look like and then set my scene before I even start cooking. It may take multiple shots and a little bit of tweaking but that’s what really makes it “the perfect shot.”
Something that has always worked for me to help clear my mind or get rid of stress is exercise. This helps me stay balanced with my busy schedule with work and dealing with an 8-month-old baby. I love working out at the gym but when the weather’s nice I enjoy taking my exercise outdoors mainly the beach. I have lived by the beach my whole life and being surrounded by the water and sand is truly relaxing.
My FAVORITE Perfect Bar by far is the Dark Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter! I feel like I hit the lottery when I open up the package and see a cluster of delicious chocolate chips. LOL.