Photographer Alan Fullmer Captures Every LDS Temple in the U.S.

Photographer Alan Fullmer Captures Every LDS Temple in the U.S.

One of our very own photographers, Alan Fullmer, recently accomplished a goal that few other members of the LDS Church have been able to: to photograph every single LDS temple in the United States. Just one week ago, he briefly traveled to Alaska to get pictures of the Anchorage Temple – his final of 78 operating temples in the country! He has also captured the Cedar City Temple and Tucson Temple, which will both be dedicated later this year. Now, after 10 trips, that brings his total to 80 temples!

Alan began this journey in 2014, and he has since become one of the most well-known and creative temple photographers in the world. In 2014, he took it upon himself to visit and photograph not only all the temples in the continental United States, but also the two in Hawaii and one in Alaska as well.

Alan has been blessed with the means to be able to travel around the country and visit the temples. His wife, Lori, was also lucky enough to be able to join him on some of his travels, especially to amazing locations like Hawaii and Alaska. Many of us wish we could do the same, but for now we get to watch as Alan continues to awe us with his talent and the beautiful temple pictures that he brings home after every trip. His style of capturing temples is very unique, and many say that his images “glow.” We would have to agree. He has a way of capturing not only the beauty of the temple itself, but also the grounds surrounding the temple, and the peace that one can feel when visiting the House of the Lord. His temple photos are unlike any others in the world!

We recently asked Alan some questions about his journey since this “mission” of his began. We wanted a little insight into why he enjoys what he does and how it’s been for him:

When did you first get into photography?

I have always been interested in photography, even as a kid. I didn’t have the means, however, to get my own camera until I was about 9 years old. It was a 110 film camera. I remember taking it on a hike up Grove Creek Canyon for scouts. Later on, our family took a trip to Hawaii. My dad brought a 35mm camera on that trip. I snapped a shot (thinking it was a point-and-click) and of course it was not a good photo. It was then that my dad realized he should teach me about the exposure triangle and how it works.

When did you eventually get serious about it?

I got serious when I was in high school (circa 1990). I took a photography class which included traditional darkroom developing. I already knew how to do it because growing up we had a darkroom in our basement for my dad’s portrait studio. I played around with various tests, from capturing a fast-moving object like a bird to getting motion like a spinning coin, etc. I later purchased my first digital camera. It wasn’t even 1 MP – 560 k pixels to be exact! It was an Olympus pseudo DSLR. I took it everywhere I went. And that’s was when I knew I was serious.

Why do you enjoy photography in general?

Photography allows me to get an image of how I remember a scene. I also like to share my photos. I like others to see where I’ve been, what I’ve seen, etc. I’ve always loved photographing landscapes.

Salt Lake Temple Tulips Sunset

One of Alan’s first temple pictures: Salt Lake Temple Tulips Sunset


Why do you enjoy temple photography and why did you start shooting temples?

As an aspiring photographer growing up in Utah, it’s only natural that I’ve photographed them now and again. But I never got into it consistently until about 2014. That was when people expressed interest in the way I captured the temples. It wasn’t your typical “snapshot”, but a photograph with a bit of artistic flare.

What’s your favorite season to be out photographing?

Every season has its own positives. Spring or fall is my favorite due to the blossoms and leaves changing color.

What about your favorite weather or time of day?

I like shooting right after a storm, in the late afternoon into evening.

Nauvoo Temple – Days Ahead

One of Alan Fullmer’s favorite photos: Nauvoo Temple – Days Ahead


What was your favorite temple to photograph and why?

The Nauvoo Temple was my favorite to photograph. For me, it had a feeling unlike any other. The history, combined with the temple’s unique grounds, makes it my favorite.

What was the most difficult temple and why?

My most challenging temple to capture was the Chicago Temple. There are a number of reason why it was difficult – the height of the temple, the fence, the power lines.  I am not a big fan of keystoning buildings (the converging perspective angles created by looking up at a building), so it was hard to capture the temple when there was so little space between the temple and the surrounding fence.

What are your personal favorite three temple photos?

Nauvoo Temple – Days Ahead
Provo City Center Temple – Families Are Forever
Hartford Temple – Radiance

Provo City Center Temple – Families Are Forever

Alan’s all-time favorite photo: Provo City Center Temple – Families Are Forever


Which of those three is your all-time favorite and why?

Provo City Center Temple – Families Are Forever.  It wasn’t my favorite at first, but the story behind the sculpture made it grow on me. The popularity of the photo helped too. I believe it’s also quite visually appealing.

How much time do you typically spend working on an image like that?

Oddly enough, the Families Are Forever photo didn’t take very long. I probably only spent a few minutes working on it, because the conditions when I captured the image were pretty much perfect. On the other hand, some photos that I work on sometimes take up to a few days. But the average is about an hour.

Why did you decide to photograph every temple in the country?

It’s always been a dream/goal of mine. One day some time ago I was asked by my publisher if I would and could do it. Obviously, I couldn’t turn down a challenge like that! Since I had the means to accomplish such a lofty goal, I jumped on the opportunity.

Portland Temple – Pastel Sunset

One of Alan’s most popular photos: Portland Temple – Pastel Sunset

When you were on the road, what does a typical day look like?

I try to start my time at any given temple in the evening. So I plan my drive to end up on location with plenty of time to spare before sunset. I take some time scouting out the area and taking some test shots of various angles. Then I get something to eat so I don’t have to work on an empty stomach. After a quick meal, I shoot photos starting around sunset and usually into dark – around 3-4 hours. After I’m all done for the day, I copy all the files from my cameras onto my laptop and begin reviewing the day’s photos. I make a quick note of any specific angles/shots that I want to re-shoot, then head to bed. I wake up early in the morning, well before sunrise, and shoot the same location again. After than I’m usually able to get a little more sleep before I drive to the next location and begin the process again.

What kept you going every day on the road?

Good photos keep me going. When I get what I feel are great shots, and I can’t wait to show people – that’s what keeps me going.

Salt Lake Temple – This Is The Place

One of Alan’s newest photos: Salt Lake Temple – This Is The Place

What inspires you or motivates you to do what you do?

I always want to improve what I do. I also want everyone to be able to have a nice photo of their temple in their home. And if they choose my photo, then it makes it all worth it.

What’s been the biggest challenge over the past few years?

The biggest challenge for me has been being away from family and friends. Oh, and justifying the cost of new equipment when it’s needed.

Now that you’ve got all the U.S. temples done, what’s your plan now?

European temples. I’d also like to do more landscape photography.

What do you hope people feel when they see your photos?

My greatest hope is that people will feel a sense of peace when they look at my photos. A peace that will be brought into their homes and into their lives.

Anchorage Temple – Angels and Angles

Alan’s final temple in the United States: Anchorage Temple – Angels and Angles

All of these incredible pictures are available for purchase. You can find photo prints, canvas wraps, and framed photos in a large variety of sizes. If one of these above pictures caught your eye, just click on it! Or you can view all of Alan Fullmer’s temple pictures here.

Photographer Alan Fullmer Captures Every LDS Temple in the U.S. | In 2014, Alan Fullmer set out to photograph every LDS temple in the United States. He recently accomplished his goal, and now we're sharing his story!