Manuel Rodríguez Fernández on capturing the architectural beauty of Europe through his lens for CUPA PIZARRAS.

Ask anyone in the built environment and they'll tell you, a beautifully captured image of a project is worth its weight in gold. It does the talking for you. Acting as a branding tool, and proof of your expertise.

So much so are these images valued by Material Source Studio partner, CUPA PIZARRAS - suppliers of natural slate - that it employs Manuel Rodríguez Fernández as its in-house photographer. Every year, Manuel travels the length and breadth of Europe, photographing between 2 and 3 projects each day from France, to the Netherlands, Belgium to Denmark.

Keen to find out more about these epic annual trips, we recently caught up with Manuel to discuss how he came to be in this enviable position, his favourite sites to date, and what he finds most inspiring.

Firstly, tell us about your professional background

“I successfully graduated as an architectural engineer, and then after graduating, I transitioned into health and safety roles within the construction sector. I then started my career in the creative field of graphics, which ultimately led me to my passion - taking images of beautiful construction projects. I now have the privilege of teaching Architecture Photography in Madrid, continuing to expand my knowledge”.

Private house overlooking the canopy, Angers

Private house overlooking the canopy, Angers

How do you support CUPA PIZARRAS?

“I began supporting CUPA PIZARRAS when I worked in graphics. CUPA PIZARRAS then sought out a photographer, and they became my first big photography client. Over time, our collaboration has expanded to include videography, utilising drones to capture projects that held a fascinating appeal. For exceptional projects, I take twilight pictures, revisiting sites at night.”

How far do you travel on your annual photography tour for CUPA PIZARRAS. Which countries do you visit, or does it differ every year?

“Every year I travel through Europe to capture some remarkable natural slate projects. I start by driving a car from the CUPA PIZARRAS HQ in Northern Spain and drive through; France, Netherlands, Belgium, UK, Denmark, and even the Faroe Islands. This journey spans over 4 to 5 weeks during which time I photograph an average of 2 to 3 projects per day, travelling 350 kilometres.”

Is natural slate a good material to photograph?

“Slate is a great material to photograph. However, as an architectural photographer, capturing slate does come with its challenges. Finding the right reflection on the slate becomes crucial in getting the perfect shot. This is a simpler task when photographing slate roofs, as the angles and lighting are more favourable than façades.”

Glen Douglas Dr, Glasgow

Glen Douglas Dr, Glasgow

What types of setting do you photograph on these tours?

“Working with CUPA PIZARRAS means I photograph a diverse range of projects; from remote houses to grand hotels, my portfolio covers a wide variety of architectural beauty. One particular aspect that fascinates me is I can photograph traditional renovations to modern structures, I am always motivated by how unique each project is."

My profession is not just about capturing photographs but the opportunity to meet amazing people along the way

Chateau Aguillon

Chateau Aguillon

Do you have a favourite CUPA PIZARRAS project to date?

“Among all the projects I have captured, one that truly stands out is the CUPA PIZARRAS Chichester project that was featured on Grand Designs. This stunning home fascinated me with its architectural design. One aspect of this project which I loved was the opportunity to take twilight pictures, the soft lighting during this time was incredible. It is projects like Chichester that remind me why I am so passionate about photography."

What makes a good architectural photograph in your opinion?

“Many elements play an important role within architectural photography, the time of day is crucial especially as I photograph outside. The most perfect shots are when the sun is shining – natural light is the best light you can have. It is also important for me to ensure I meet the client expectations and needs. CUPA PIZARRAS has strong relationships with their customers, and I want them to love the photographs just as much as I do.”

What’s the most surprising thing that’s happened on your travels?

“One memory I have was in France where the Château I was capturing had been previously used as a wedding venue. While taking photos of this remarkable property, the family owners invited me to join them for a meal. I spent the evening sharing stories about my tour with CUPA PIZARRAS and where I was travelling to next. They even presented me with a bottle of champagne! I then realised that my profession is not just about capturing photographs but the opportunity to meet amazing people along the way.”

The Elms

The Elms

Where do you seek inspiration?

"I seek inspiration from many places but there are some individuals and online communities that I particularly draw inspiration from. For example, the community of architectural and interior photographers that is Shiftercom. Instagram and other social media is also a great resource to find new inspiration."

What are you working on next?

“I am already planning and working with the team at CUPA PIZARRAS for the 2024 tour. I know we have some amazing new renovations lined up across all countries, so I am very excited to capture all these beautifully unique projects”.

Featherbed Barn, Cotswolds

Featherbed Barn, Cotswolds

See Manuel's work at