Business success: Photos are memories… But what else boosts recall?

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We often speak of photography being all about capturing for posterity the big events, beautiful locations, and our closest loved ones and friends  — and how we as an industry must do our best to help customers preserve their precious memories.

But while photography is great for memory (so much so that I am writing a book on that topic!) it’s not the only tool available to us — and in many ways, a powerful memory can boost your overall success in business, and elsewhere in life.

This week we present information and tips from Chester Santos, an actual recognized “Memory Champion” — yes, they have competitions!

Memory Exercises + Brain Fitness = Success

Chester Santos

Chester Santos

By Chester Santos

I am a memory expert: I help people to realize the benefits of an improved memory and sharper mind.
In order to win the USA Memory Championship in 2008, I practiced simple memory-building methods that can help anyone.
Wouldn’t it be helpful in your career to remember the names of everyone you meet, and to give a presentation or speech without notes? I teach that and much more.
My entertaining, interactive presentations and workshops provide my clients, from Fortune 500 companies to Harvard graduate students, with the tools to perform their functions at the highest level.

In any profession, you seem like much more of an expert in your field if you can recall important information rather than having to always look it up. If you have mastered your field and you are the expert, then you shouldn’t have to rely so much on reference — that makes you seem like a novice, not an expert. Another thing to consider: Whether or not there is a connection between memory and intelligence, there is definitely a perception: People with a razor sharp memory are perceived as more intelligent… and we always want to hire the more intelligent person.

My clients include businesses and organizations from various industries, including finance, technology, medicine and law. Many trial attorneys take my workshop because when they lose eye contact with the jury, they’ve lost the jury’s attention. You aren’t going to be as persuasive if you are always pausing to look through a mass of notes. Even the Harvard Graduate Council recognized the value of memory skills for students, and I conducted seminars for students from all thirteen of its graduate schools. “After listening to Chester, I realized the possibilities,” said Pukar Malla, President of the Harvard Graduate Council. “In a short span of time hundreds of students were using powerful memory techniques.”

I believe that memory techniques are especially important now in the technology age where people are less reliant upon human memory. The brain is very trainable. The more you have your brain do something over and over, the better it gets at doing it. The opposite is also true: The “use it or lose it” principle is definitely applicable to the brain. We all used to be able to remember the phone numbers of friends and family — Now no one knows anyone’s phone number. Things have gotten so bad that a lot of people don’t even remember their own phone numbers.

I engage my audiences and motivate them to memorize in the age of technology by demonstrating what is possible for all of us with just a little training: skills like remembering the names of one hundred people in the audience that I met right before the event, and memorizing a random list of numbers the audience created only a few seconds prior. I also can memorize an entire deck of cards in 90 seconds, or remember a sequence of 100 numbers in just five minutes (all challenges I performed in the USA Memory Championship). I never tell people that everyone is going to achieve my level, but what I do say is that everyone can dramatically improve their memory. My presentations are interactive, with audiences actively practicing memory exercises.

Most of the techniques I teach originated with the ancient Greeks. One of the core methods is known as the Method of Loci (“loci” meaning location). The Roman orator Cicero used this technique to give lengthy speeches from memory without any notes, and it was known then as the Roman Room method. This technique involves using a familiar venue such as your own home to create visual imagery that represents things you want to remember. In order to memorize a speech or presentation you choose several locations from your own home, and then link images that remind you in some way of each topic or section in your presentation. When you want to remember the topics you just take a mental walk through your residence, and “see” the images that you placed at the different locations.

These techniques magnify anyone’s memory many times over because you are using more areas of your brain. Scientific studies support that notion: When I appeared in an October 2012 PBS Nova ScienceNow segment, “How Smart Can We Get?” I trained the host of the show, David Pogue, how to use the Method of Loci memory technique. Pogue memorized 40 words in approximately ten minutes by using images connected to his own living room. In order to remember some of the words, I told Pogue to imagine that on top of this piano there is a monkey dancing, and this monkey picks up a giant iron. I later told Pogue that we tend to remember things more if there is something interesting actually happening, rather than just a stagnant object. Neuroscientist Dr. John Golfinos of New York University Langone Medical Center explained during the segment that memory champions can remember large amounts of information with these techniques because they are using the parts of the brain that process language as well as images, so employing other parts of the brain makes their memories stronger.

Since I know the importance of scientific support for my memory training, I offer programs along with Dr. Adam Gazzaley, Associate Professor of Neurology at the University of California, San Francisco. Dr. Gazzaley explains the science of memory, and then I discuss the practical benefits of memory training in any career.

Clearly, memory techniques can help boost productivity for anyone in their business or personal life, and recently, I discovered that corporations might also want to get into the memory game. I brought the first-ever US corporate team to the USA Memory Championships. I do one-on-one memory coaching for Mike Faith, the CEO of, and he saw the benefit of memory training in his career. Faith believed in the value of memory training so much that he asked me to train his employees to compete in the USA Memory Championship this year. I started a trend: other corporations have already entered for next year.

Memory is fundamental to learning, so memory training and brain fitness are invaluable tools in the workplace — and who knows where the next corporate memory champion will come from? But it’s not all about competing against others… When you can improve your personal memory you are a winner in any arena. Just follow these basic and specific memory training tips to jump-start your memory.

Basic Memory Tips

1. Attach vivid visual images to information that you want to remember.

2. Establish a connection between new information and a familiar location, such as your home or office. Use this for remembering lists, presentations and speech topics.

3. Involve additional senses, including hearing, taste, touch and smell to assist in committing facts to memory. This aids in the process of encoding information into your brain.

4. Practice relying upon your memory and not technology, to recall telephone numbers and other information. This will help to re-program your brain to become more accustomed to remembering.

How to Remember Names

Everyone likes to hear his or her name, and it’s a great way to get ahead in business. Try these techniques and names will be more than just on the tip of your tongue:

Associate an image with the name of someone that you want to remember. So if someone has the name Jill, imagine a hill and someone jumping up the hill. Try linking another sensory cue to names such as sense of smell or hearing. When you meet someone, notice the scent they are wearing or the tone of their voice. If anything stands out, link it with the name. For example, if a woman is wearing a sweet-smelling perfume, link the word sweet with the name, “Sweet Sue.” If someone has a nasal voice use that with the name, “Nosey Jim.”

How to Remember a List

Imagine that there is a grocery list that you need to remember. Some of the items are milk, eggs and cereal. The best way to remember these items is to visualize them, but in an unusual way. For instance, think of a carton of the milk the size of a building, with eggs flying out of the windows. When the eggs splatter on the ground, cereal pours out of them. In order to cement the list in your mind, create a story surrounding the images and repeat it to yourself several times.

How to Memorize a Speech or Presentation

In order to memorize a speech or presentation you can use the same techniques for remembering a list: Connect an image with each topic or point in your material. For a particularly long speech or presentation, the Method of Loci works well. Just select a familiar location such as your home or office, and attach visual spots in that location to each topic. Picture your living room and take a walk around it in your mind, linking each piece of furniture, art and other objects to the points you want to make. It’s best to use vivid imagery when making these connections so that you have the best chance of remembering the information.

For more information on Chester Santos’ presentations and training go to


PMA Podcast launches with new ideas to grow your business from the McCurry Marketing Idea Exchange


PMApodcast_icon_1024The brand new PMA Podcast is here! On this inaugural episode, listen to a great McCurry Marketing Idea Exchange interview.

The PMA Podcast is the podcast for anyone whose business revolves around imaging and pictures. We’ll cover topics like increasing sales, new imaging technology, the latest in picture framing, business management tips, advances in photo output, high volume photography, and much more. Designed for members of PMA and its international community of imaging associations — AIE, DIMA, NAPET, PPFA, PSPA, and SPAA — the PMA Podcast is your weekly source of information to help you grow your business. If you’re a fan of the DIMAcast or the AIE Imaging Executive podcast, you’ll find all the great content you’re used to and lots more, now all in one place, on the PMA Podcast at

And now, on with the show!

When the landlord wasn’t cooperative to renew their lease, Calagaz Photo and Digital Imaging found a new location, remodeled it, fixtured it and moved in — all within 30 days. Most impressively, they changed the ambiance and tenor of the store to attract more female shoppers with bigger budgets. Pauline McKean shares how they escalated the “Wow!” factor to delight their customers. The microphone then switches to Alex Christianian of Mike’s Camera, who shares advice on setting realistic expectations for satisfied customers. Mike’s displays and training help ensure the customer understands what they will get for their money. Two progressive retailers share philosophies and strategies you can use during the inaugural episode of the PMA Podcast.

Welcome, new members of PMA and PPFA


PMAlogo_CMYK_smallWe are so pleased to welcome these, and all our new members! PPFA_RGB_150

Art Masters, El Paso, Texas

BGA Videoproduktion AB, Sweden

Brother International Corp., Bridgewater, N.J.

Central Trading Co., Fitzgerald, Ga.

Chandler Gallery Custom & Museum Framing, Jupiter, Fla.

Cyrus Custom Framing, Canton, Ohio

da Vinci Frames, Sierra Vista, Ariz.

ECO Framing, Oakland, Calif.

The Frame Gallery, Holmen, Wis.

Framewrights Art Framing, Chattanooga, Tenn.

Franklin Picture Framing, Franklin, N.C.

Gallery Framery, Jacksonville, Fla.

Light and Magic, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

Looking Glass Photo and Camera, Berkeley, Calif.

Magdalene’s Custom Framing, Washington D.C.

Morpeth Gallery, Hopewell, N.J.

Osorio Art & Framing, North Miami Beach, Fla.

Pegasus Gallery Framing, Salt Spring Island, British Columbia, Canada

Picture This of Westport, Westport, Conn.

PortraitEFX Southeast Florida, Wellington, Fla.

Red River Paper, Dallas, Texas

SNAP Photography, Harleysville, Pa.

Studio Gallery, Niles, Mich.

Vandeuren Galleries Inc., West Hollywood, Calif.

Winnicky, Grande Prairie, Alberta, Canada

WM Quigg & Assoc., Phoenix, Ariz.

Coming soon: The new PMA Podcast


PMAlogo_CMYK_smallI’m excited to announce that we will be launching the new PMA Podcast in September!MIME Logo PMAN

The PMA Podcast is the podcast for anyone whose business revolves around imaging and pictures. We’ll cover topics like increasing sales, new imaging technology, the latest in picture framing, business management tips, advances in photo output, high volume photography, and much more. Designed for members of PMA and its international community of imaging associations — AIE, DIMA, NAPET, PPFA, PSPA, and SPAA — the PMA Podcast is your weekly source of information to help you grow your business.

If you’re a fan of the DIMAcast or the AIE Imaging Executive podcast, you’ll find all the great content you’re used to — including our friend Bill McCurry‘s monthly McCurry Marketing Idea Exchange podcast and transcripts — and lots more, now all in one place, on the PMA Podcast.

Look for the first episode on September 8, followed by a great new interview every week.

Welcome, new members of PMA and PPFA!


PMAlogo_CMYK_smallWe are so pleased to welcome all our new members, including: PPFA_RGB_150

Fast Frame, Dallas Texas

Hanging Around Hoover, Hoover, Alabama

Harvard Art, Harvard Mass.

Peninsula Gallery, Lewes, Del.

Photo Pro, Napa, Calif.

Right Photography Ltd., Maple Ridge, B.C., Canada

SoSocio Straatweg, Netherlands

Focus on: Teri Winfield, High Desert Art & Frame

Teri Winfield

Teri WinfieldWhen Teri Winfield, her husband Bob and son Stephen opened High Desert Art & Frame in Albuquerque, N.M., in 2008, they quickly added photo restoration services; and a couple of years later, realized the huge need for photo, slide and negative digitization.

The well-rounded menu of services is a major factor in their shop’s success.

“Having all of these services available in one stop has provided us a customer base that utilizes all our services, depending on their needs at the time,” says Teri, a member of PMA and PPFA since March 2008.

An expert at scanning photos in bulk and photo restoration, Teri is passionate about her customers’ family stories, including old photos and memorabilia.

The first Certified Personal Photo Organizer (certified by APPO, the Association of Personal Photo Organizers) in New Mexico, she enjoys helping customers sort through boxes of photos and albums to preserve memories for future generations.

These projects resonate in Teri’s own life. Three years ago, she became the guardian of her mother’s photos, including photo collections from both her grandmothers. “It’s an honor and a huge responsibility,” she says. “As a child, it was always a treat when I could talk my mother into going through those cardboard boxes of family photos.”

Teri is digitizing not only those family photos, but also letters, cards, report cards, newspaper articles and any other scrap of paper that tells the family story. She has also restored family photos that are damaged or faded. “With today’s digital technology, the results can be amazing,” she says.

As the huge wave of Baby Boomers grows older, there is an urgency to preserving family histories and photos, she notes. “Many collections are quite large and can be overwhelming for our customers. Having assistance in prioritizing, organizing and breaking the process into steps brings a great deal of relief. The fact that their precious memories never leave my shop is an added bonus for the locals.”

Teri’s husband Bob serves as marketing guru, creating strategic alliances with local business owners. A Certified Picture Framer, he runs the large format printing side of the business; and is the equipment expert, shop fixture designer, and chief commercial and residential art installer.

The couple’s son Stephen is a Certified Picture Framer, with 12 years experience in the framing industry. He does most of the framing, and uses his creative talents at the design table, including using a Computerized Mat Cutter (CMC) to create intricate mat designs.

Located in Albuquerque’s Glenwood Village Shopping center, High Desert Art & Frame showcases the work of some the area’s best artists in its gallery, including photographs, paintings, glass art, and jewelry; and features a local artist each month, with a reception during First Friday ARTScrawl and display of the artist’s work  for the entire month.

The store supports a variety of community efforts throughout New Mexico, through donation, framing, or event sponsorship, including ABQ CASA, Inc. (Court Appointed Special Advocates for abused and neglected children); All Faith’s Receiving Home; American Cancer Society; Christina Kent Daycare; Heart Gallery of New Mexico Foundation; and Roadrunner Food Bank.

– By Sheila Pursglove

Welcome, new members of PMA and PPFA!


PMAlogo_CMYK_smallJoin us in extending a warm welcome to all our new members, including these great companies!PPFA_RGB_150

9th Street Gallery & Frame, Marshalltown, Iowa

A Fine Line, Salmon, Idaho

ABC Photo Ltd., Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

AD Upton Pty Ltd., Clermont, Queensland, Australia

Covered Bridge Frame Shop & Gallery, Contoocook, N.H.

King Dyro Productions, Glendale, Calif.

Queensland School Photography, Loganholme, Queensland, Australia

Welcome, new members of PMA/PPFA


PMAlogo_CMYK_smallWe are so happy to welcome all our new members of PMA and PPFA, including:PPFA_RGB_150

Foto Gulf Co., Barwa Village, Al Wakhra Doha, Qatar

QuantaPrint Corp., Rochester N.Y.

Renditions by Michael Harder,  Santa Clarita Calif., Benton, La.

Vital Image Photography, Muskegon, Wis.

Crestar Mfg., East Greenwich, R.I.

Virginia Beach Frame Shop, Virginia Beach, Va.

PMA and PPFA welcome new members


PMAlogo_CMYK_smallJoin us in extending a warm welcome to all new members of PMA and PPFA, including these great companies!PPFA_RGB_150

Wisching You The Very Best Photography, San Diego, Calif.

GoodShots Photography, Balmain NSW, Australia

Johnson Photography, Baton Rouge, La.

Lamote Inc., Ansonia, Conn.

Momento Pro Pty Ltd., NSW, Australia

Panasonic Australia, Macquarie Park NSW, Australia

Print 2 Metal, Malvern, Victoria, Australia

Tony Color Lab, Haryana, India

PMA refines mission statement, sets new goals


PMAlogo_CMYK_smallThe Board of Directors of PMA has refined the PMA mission statement and set new objectives for member services, resources, and support. The new mission statement, which expands on the previous mission, “Promote the growth of the imaging industry,” now details specific areas of focus:

“Evolve the imaging business community worldwide by promoting innovation, marketing, technology, and passion for photography.”

The refined mission statement arose from the work of a committee comprised of key industry members: Gaby Mullinax of Fullerton Photographics in Fullerton, Calif.; Marsha Phillips of F-11 Photographic Supplies in Bozeman, Mont.; Jerry Sullivan of Precision Camera in Austin, Texas; and chaired by PMA past-president Allen Showalter of King Photo/Showalter Imaging Group in Harrisonburg, Va.

Along with the refined mission statement come a number of plans for new, additional ways to help PMA members grow their businesses and to advance the industry as a whole.

Included are the continuation of the consumer facing Big Photo Show in various formats; the development of a Big Photo Show kit, which would help photo retailers host their own Big Photo Show events in their local markets; continued support and development of certifications; social media programs for members; additional promotion of National Photo Month and the establishment of a National Photo Store Day; continued legal support; and ongoing work with other industry groups to help market and promote revenue generating aspects of photography.

“Our mission and focus must be clear and targeted to the industry needs of today. We recognize that the basic motivation in our industry is the passion for photography. Photography is not going away because technology has caused a paradigm shift; in fact, the passion is stronger than ever, because it’s more convenient to capture and share images than ever before in human history,” said PMA President Bill Eklund of Sharp Photo & Portrait, Eau Claire, Wis. “PMA, as the industry’s worldwide photo association, needs to help its members evolve by promoting innovation and technology; providing networking events like the PMA Conferences and PMA@CES to help our members with idea sharing and marketing their products and services; and fueling consumer passion for photography with information and education events like the Big Photo Show. We are excited to unveil our refined mission statement, and to offer these new and expanded resources and tools to our members.”