“Our lives are the sum of our memories.”

Seriously though, without memory what would our lives even be.

They would just consist of random moments in time as if nothing ever existed before that second. Our personalities would never have developed from experience’s we never remembered.

In a way, the more memories you have in life, the more life you have lived.

Imagine if you could learn how to develop a photographic memory. And remember everything and anything in complete detail.

Whether it was to recall great moments in your life, or to advance yourself in the present state. The benefits are endless.

The good news is that you can develop a photographic memory.

It is a skill that can be learned.

So if you’re interested in “living more life,” advancing your career, or simply just bettering yourself, then this is the article for you.

Method 1: Improving General Memory

Without having to read a word of method 1, check out the TED Talk below.

The talk is by Joshua Foer and tells the story about how he went from being a journalist at memory contests, to winning them in only a few short months.

This method is not exactly remembering things “like a photograph”, but it is extremely effective for remembering anything in general.

So if you want to:

– Never have to use cue cards during a speech again

– Be able to memorize the order of 32 decks of cards in 1 hour

– Or just simply want to have a better memory than 99% of people out there

Then check out the video below, it explains it better than I ever could.

Essentially what Josh is saying is that the brain remembers in pictures.

The best thing he says to describe it is

If you told someone to remember somebody with the name Baker and told someone else to remember that somebody was a baker, sometime later the first person who you told to remember someone named Baker will likely forget. While the person who was told to remember “a baker” will likely remember.

Why?

Well because the brain thinks and remembers in pictures.

When you are told to remember a baker, your brain instantly imagines a baker, in a puffy white hat or w.e it may be.

This is what sticks in your mind.

This is what you remember.

So if you carry this into every aspect of your life, and associate things that you are trying to remember with pictures in your mind (the more vivid and ridiculous the better), you will have an incredible memory.

This is how normal men go from forgetting where they put their keys to being able to remember the order of 32 decks of randomly shuffled cards in an hour.

Just watch the video for a much better understanding.

Imagine having this skill set under your belt.

The only guy in the office or at your firm that can remember everything and anything.

Do you think your career is going to advance?

I’m guessing it will.

Method 2: The Military Method

**Note:  I read an article ages ago on how the military trained their high up operatives to have a photographic memory. This method has been floating around the internet on many sites. Link 1, Link 2, Link 3. I have not been able to find any actual proof that the military do this to train their operatives to have a photographic memory, or if it does in fact work. So try at your own risk. 

But it seems like the military is always doing the latest and greatest crazy experiments:

– Psychic spies

– Objective viewing

– Photographic memories

It makes sense for remembering orders, pictures of location, or coordinates.

So I think it is worth a shot!

This method promises to actually teach you how to develop a photographic memory, and not just a great memory.

How to do it:

Before I give you the steps it is important to say that this system will take you at least 1 month to develop, and must be practiced everyday, as a missed day of practice can apparently set you back a week.

Step 1)

For this process you need a dark room.

You need to be free from distraction.

And you must have a bright lamp or ceiling lamp in the room.

A windowless bathroom is perfect.

Step 2)

Sit in a position where you have easy access to turn your light on and off without having to get up.

Get a piece of paper and cut a rectangular hole out of it about the size of a standard book paragraph.

Step 3)

Get your book, or w.e it is you are trying to memorize from and cover it with the piece of paper, exposing only 1 paragraph.

Adjust your distance from the book so that when you open and close your eyes they focus on the words instantly.

Step 4)

Turn off the light and let your eyes adjust to the dark.

Then flip the light on for a split second and then off again.

You will have a visual imprint in your eyes of the material that was in front of you.

Step 5)

When this imprint fades, flip the light on again for a split second, while again staring at the material.

Step 6)

Repeat this process until you can recall every word in the paragraph in correct order.

If you are doing it right you will actually be able to see the paragraph and read from the imprint in your mind. (eventually)


Remember, you may not have success at this for up to a month or more.

But if you can commit to practice this everyday, for at least 15 minutes a day, then in a month or so you will literally have a photographic memory.

As your skills develop and you get better and better, you should be able to take this practice into every day of your life.

Imagine quickly looking through at a piece of text and being able to see the imprint in your mind.

All you would have to do is glance at your cheat sheet before a big test and you would be golden.

Its very powerful stuff.

In conclusion

Having a photographic memory is a very unique skill that if your interested in, will give you an edge over all the people around you.

Yes, it takes time a practice. But 15 minutes a day is not too much to ask to develop an incredible life skill.

Most people spend over 3 hours a day just watching TV, developing no life skills.

So if you think its for you try it out. And let us know how it goes.

Additional Resources

8 Tips For DIY Photographic Memory


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109 COMMENTS

      • Hi. I have just come across this site and have read everything here. I just wanted to know if it was normal to see some words from a book when reading it and looking away or to see object shapes in different colours after seeing them and looking away. This is what happens to me. I am also very sensitive to lights and camera flashes can stay in my vision for up to 7 minutes at times. Also, if I look in a particular place for more than 30 seconds without looking away, every object like a sofa or a wall would start looking looking weird and looking like a TV without a signal. I can’t really describe it.then the image stays in my vision IR sight for a long period of time and sometimes if I close my eyes I can see patterns of sorts mixing together and then separating . This is sometimes very frustrating and really weird.

    • I’m learning the HOLE day, and it does almost nofing, I forget everyfing, I really hopee, that this will work and get some more free time

    • It works brilliantly, after 6 days I can remember a full page of information off the top of my head, but I am not 100% sure if I am doing it right. I flick on and off the light while memorising it, then I keep the light off while I repeat what I have remembered instead of waiting for the image to appear when I close my eyes. Could someone please tell me if I am doing it right, thanks.

  1. hi im not sure if im doing it right, i have done 15 minutes a day for 4 days and can barely tell the difference. Should i continuously turn the light on and off every 5 seconds or something or should i flash it on then wait and see how much i remember and then flash it on one again… until i remember the whole paragraph?

    • John,

      I have to admit I have not done the second method myself yet. I researched it, and read many success stories and everything I have read is that it takes over a month to develop. So if you are serious about this, keep doing your thing and dont give it up for at least a month.

      In the future I will only write about things I have done or have someone who has write it so we can be of more assistance.

        • I practice this method every day,until now 5 days.But Unfortunately when i turn off the light i cant remember anything and dont see anything except dark space.
          pls advice me
          tnx

        • John, what was your conclusion of the “project” what you may call it? was it as succesful as they describe it? Ive been trying it out for 4 days now, and i’ve made some progess i think… I think i just need som sort of confirmation.

    • Unfortunately being so busy I have not been able to try the military method. I put this up based on all the testimonials I read about it working, but since I strictly only post things a colleague or I have successfully attempted.

    • Unfortunately being so busy I have not been able to try the military method. I put this up based on all the testimonials I read about it working, but since I strictly only post things a colleague or I have successfully attempted. Wish I could help you more.

  2. thanks for the steps.

    i have read this advices because, since i was young, i was able to remember a lot of things, and i have memorized the HOLY QURAN when i was 15, put no one told me that i have something called photographic memory. now i am 19 and i can remember a lot of things such as all my friends cell-phones numbers, their credit card numbers

    but i have a question, some times i remember things that i don’t want to remember, or i do not need to remember, such as the prices of some meals in a restaurant . on the other hand, sometimes i can not remember important things, but it happens rarely.

    please if you have an advice for that.

    • It seems you are a very gifted person. I do not hold this gift and I have trouble remembering peoples names after meeting them haha.

      But I am working on this and using Tim Ferris’s methods to learn to memorize decks of cards and things like that. Its a fascinating world.

      It is incredible that you were born this way and you should be proud of your gift.

      I do not have much advice other than maybe try to develop it and use it for a career or to make a living. I am interested in hearing more about this though, keep in touch.

  3. hi
    I read your article about photographic memory.
    as i like this subject very much i do your instructions in article until now,about 5 days.
    But unfortunately i dont get any result.
    I went in bathroom and turn off the light and after 5 min i see the page for 5 second (sometimes i tried this with 1 or 2 minutes) after that i turn off the light and try to remember the words and page,but nothing except dark space and nothing else.
    as general when i turn off the light i cant see anything .
    please help me because i interested very much.
    best regard

    • Muhammed,

      Sorry that it is not working for you. I am going to try this myself actually in the next few days and get you some feedback. I know it may not work for up to a month but I have been getting a lot of questions and want to be able to answer them thoroughly.

      When I know, you’ll know!

      Thanks for coming by the site.

      • every day i try that.because i love it so much.anyway i search in the internet about this and get much information about this as videos and pics and persons,so if u interested this subject send me your email for much information.I eager this subject a lot and if u too,tell me.
        best regard,Mohammad
        mwin195@yahoo.com

  4. You did a wonderful job of explaining the instructions for both processes. I just have one question for process #2 though.

    Am I supposed to read the material for the split second I turn the light on, or do I just stare at the material and try when the 15 minutes are over I try to recall as much as I could? I’ve been doing this for the past few days but I am unsure of whether or not I’m actually attempting to read it or not.

    Thanks Sean, I look forward to reading the rest of the content on your website!

    • Thanks for the kind words Jay.

      I haven’t done this method yet, and I should so I can better help others try it. I was referred this method and told it really does work. After research, I concluded that it was legit.

      To my understanding, you do not read the material but simply stare at it for that second you turn the light on, and then turn it off again. But I am going to do this myself and get back to you. Sorry I couldn’t be of more help. This is the one article I wrote that I personally have not partaken in, and I have learned my lesson. I won’t do it again because I hate not being able to answer questions.

      Thanks for the kind words though!

  5. Do you know if the military method works best at 15 minutes a day, I used to practice 45 minutes a day but on the seventh day I would completely blank out(maybe my brain needs to rest). I don’t know if I have a photographic memory. sometimes my memories feel like I’m looking at a photograph but I can’t seem to remember the details. I have been to lumosity.com and my memory is far above my other statistics (about 300 points), it’s hard to explain but when I memorize something with all my focus for a split second it feels like I am still staring at the image even when I looked away but if I can’t memorize the details is it still photographic memory?if I don’t pay attention to it I can’t memorize it For example: I look at the shape of a leaf but I don’t pay attention to whether the leaf is orange or green I just pay attention to the SHAPE of the leaf and because of that I don’t know what colour the leaf is . Do i have photographic memory but an extremely weak version of it?

    • Sorry Soni,

      I am not sure whether 45 minutes would be better than 15. Did the military method eventually work for you?

      You definitely have some sort of photographic memory. I think you should try and develop your skill’s more and see where you can go!

    • Yes, it is some amount of photographic memory. Even if it’s temporary like yours, you still recall the entire picture. It is weaker than what people consider photographic memory, but if you take some time to develop it, you will most likely see marvelous results.

  6. “I read an article ages ago on how the military trained their high up operatives to have a photographic memory”

    I would like to follow up on this photographic training they use. Can you email me the links and bibliography resources please. I will practice this training and then report back. I have a few questions about the technique that would needed to be answered by the source before training. Thanks…

      • Great, appreciate it, that is the best way to learn which is finding out the military research, because they are brilliant organization and are world class researchers and one of the best in the world at behavior and learning. They can teach people with no technology, just plain old fashion style i would imagine. They have to have a system to teach operatives in a short amount of time how to develop a photographic memory. You have to be able to learn a language fluently, be able to memorize a book or newspaper WORD for WORD. You have to memorize conversation mapping skills. Jerry Lucas and Harry Lorayne wrote the “the memory book” which can teach you alot but the memorization of a book is really long and advance and you have to be able to spend alot of hours or weeks drawing and preparing the memory aids. Eventually you will not need the aids and can commit it to memory on the fly,but that can take a year if you are spending like 6 hours a week. I used Jerry Lucas best at http://www.doctormemory.com.

        • Hey Junior,

          I have searched high and low and sadly I cannot find the “original source” of the military method, or if it in fact 100% works! I have added a disclaimer in the article. I found the information in several articles. Ehow being one, and this one being another: http://dailynlp.com/strategy-develop-your-photographic-memory/

          So I am going to test it out myself and see if in fact it does work.

          Sorry bud. I understand I shouldnt post things that I do not have proof of, this was an early article.

  7. I’ve already posted but I think my photographic memory is getting better. I’m still at lumosity.com and my memory is still above my other statistics (Still by 200). It’s gotten a little weaker because I haven’t practiced as much but I can visually see the picture after I have looked at it. for example I look at a word, I can tell what angle the words are, the colour of font etc.. It’s interesting. It’s like looking at a hologram!

  8. but I am not practicing on images and I’ve created my own style of method that seems to work great

  9. Desmond from Nigeria.

    I must confess, this article is mind-blowing; kudos Sean.
    The deal is that i’v always wanted to have an eidatic memory but did practically nothing about it. It was my belief that the skill was inherent in some individuals; a gift every person cannot acquire. This thought has made me less concerned over the years.

    Though sometimes when i’m out in the road, i read signposts, bill boards, words imprinted on the walls of business enterprises etc, then i try to recall them all when i get home.This method i developed works perfectly, but i never took the whole concept serious. Maybe because i still cannot memorize like Kyle in Kyle XY; or like Sheldon Cooper in Big Bang Theory.

    But now i know that the skill can be learnt over time, i bet i will swim the length of the Pacific to possess ‘90%+’ photographic memory. #smiles..

    • There are some people who possess memories like the characters you described, but know that part of that kind of memorization has a genetic factor. Photographic memory can and usually does deal with more than pictures. For the kind of memory those same characters have, it’s something you have to be born possessing. It’s called hyperthymesia, and people with that kind of memory remember any autobiographical information they come across, even dates and times of when events occurred.

  10. I have only been doing it for a few days, but I have noticed that not focusing on a single point as well as using a brighter and more focused light can radically help in the quality with which you remember the image.

  11. I think this May work. Sight is pretty much our most important or more used sense (5sense). If you listen to something a lot you break the barrier of listening and you can memorise things through your ear, so why not make this happen for our eyes. The more we look/listen the more we get better at breaking the barrier thus getting photographic memory. Hopefully this works as what I said is a theory except for the listening bit. Someone let us know. Great website Sean. The memory palace/loci helped a lot.

    • This sounds a lot like me. I was born with photgraphic memory, so I don’t know what it’s like for you guys, but my eyes are one of the most active parts of my body. They constantly search for information and dart around, and it actually works a lot like what you described.

  12. In conmection with method 2. Tried tested and it worked. 1 month 7 days. I noticed a very common part in your questions about how to. Let me put it like this. Photographic memory is the ability to add information to the brain in a similar format of adding a jpeg image to your computer and then being able to call up the image at will. So do not read, draw the image. It does feel slow at week 1 but halfway through week 2 you will truly begin seeing results. And don’t drink just half the juice box. Finish it.

    • Hello,and thank you for the post.I need to ask you,I have been trying this method for several months and it has not worked for me,please I beg you, I am desperate to develop this ability,tell me your routine(how many seconds till the next flash of light,what source of light did you use and things like this).
      I searched on the internet and there are some people that worked for them.

  13. I tried the military method and I started to see what I saw with the light flash, but I couldn’t make out the words.

  14. Thank God I come about this site, from now on I’ll try this method, I’m just mad at myself each day, it seems my memory is fading. Before, I barely check my phonebook for contacts because I virtually have everything in my memory but today I barely remember five of them and this has really affected my grades that I even quit some of my exams until I find a solution to this problem. Pls I need any that can improve me faster.

    • Hmm,

      I hope this helps. How old are you? It sounds like your memory may be fading for other reasons – how is your diet are you getting a lot of healthy fats and Omega 3’s? They are essential for the brain. Diets high in sugars, breads and grains are the opposite – they destroy the brain. Read grain brain if you are interested in this subject and how to eat for maximum brain health.

      Hope this helps, but it would help more to get down to the core of the problem.

  15. Make sure that you do not use a very strong light,like the lamp beeing to close to your eyes and things like this.

  16. wow I’m happy to see you post this! thank you! I’m interested in trying in the future.

    Sean, I read some of the your comments that you haven’t really had time to try…..will you try it out in the near future?

  17. Im doing this for about 12 days, but it´s hard to keep doing consecutively. I use a lamp and simple large printed shapes such as circle, heart, triangle, star… I only practise at night when ít is completely dark

  18. Hi, it´s me again. I´ve been through 25 days (not including some days I skipped), 10´ per day. Sorry to say that I didnt notice any big improvements. I can see the glow but it´s fade away very quickly. So, I think it could take very long time to photograph normal texts. However, I´m trying to maintain this habit.
    Btw,it makes me think of another more active way. Texts are just shapes. So, whenever you see a picture or an object, close your eyes and imagine it with all of its shapes and colors. Also, do with audio. Play the sound in your mind.
    I will apply both of these.

  19. Yeah, that’s exactly what I mean. Very good word choice.
    And when I started Google with key words “How to visualize”, I was surprised to see the results!
    I think, the retained images don’t help much, it’s about visualization, as what Quintus said in his comment: “So do not read, draw the image.”
    The idea of visualizing here is some how similar to the method:
    http://www.successconsciousness.com/blog/creative-visualization/how-to-visualize-mental-images/
    Why we need darkness? Because it keeps us out of distraction.

  20. Sean please help me
    Im 11 years old and i really need this for school

    So… when i reflect the picture or text it like disepers it turns big if its a pretty big text and if it is a pretty small text it turns really small like i cant say how it is but can you like judge me and say what i shud do
    I use a paper a book and a lamp in the toilet
    The lamp is really bright

    • Hey Dennis,

      I wish I could help you with this technique more. As I said in he article I put it here because others have used it successfully, but I myself have not done it.

      How long have you been doing it?

      It sounds like you are making progress.

      I love that you are trying to improve yourself at only age 11. It think if you practice the first technique as talked about in the TED talk, this will help you in the long run more than the photographic technique. Something like this.

      Let me know how you do bud!

  21. Hey

    I have been doing this for about 8 days and im making progress

    I got 4 amazing links here that shud help you guys out

    Those links:

    http://www.mikemichalowicz.com/how-to-get-photographic-memory-instantly/

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7XpjmSQ553E

    http://www.successconsciousness.com/blog/creative-visualization/how-to-visualize-mental-images/

    http://www.menprovement.com/how-to-develop-a-photographic-memory/

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PZqXBhGR_W8

    I just want to say that i can remember everything i see but its a bit harder to remember letters. So i got a amazing before i say it you may think omg its a baby tip omg but its a grat tip so the is do this for 20 min, the first 5 mins do this on your hand to start the brain and then do the book thing
    another thing is that i love school and learning and to read so everybody calls me a nerd. right now i dont really have friends but when i had some everybody said that i had phographic memory

  22. Hello I am on my 6th day,but this is not my first time that I try this method,I will continue with it,currently I am working with big letters but in time I will go with smaller ones,taking baby steps is the best way.

  23. I will be trying this method starting today. Will post my results as I go along.

    Thanks for the post

  24. How do you know about this.
    where you a soldier or something
    And do the military really train this
    if they do, then in which country

    I just want to say that it goes Well and yeah im just wondering

    • I know about this through research, I myself wasn’t a soldier. This is why I put a disclaimer with “the military method,” because it could just be hearsay.

  25. Are there any other methods that yield the same result and does this one ( military) actually work.

  26. There is some amount of photographic memory to be acquired from doing this and I hope it works for you guys, but I have a photographic memory and can honestly say that what you learn from this is not at all the same as being born with the ability. Photographic memory is not JUST pictures. With it, you also tend to remember sounds, emotions, and even events in great detail, and you can do so with as little as a second of thought to what you’re thinking about. Again, I hope it works for you guys, but this does not teach photographic memory in its entirety.

  27. Ok.. a big big warning for everybody. I advice everyone to think about 1000 times doing something dangerous as this. I was very dedicated to develop a photographic memory using this method and I think it has damaged my eyes. First of all the eyes become very sensitive for light. Every light in a dark environment becomes very bright. Think about driving at night. When you look in it too much you can damage your eyes. That is exactly what I did, though not on purpose. It was then that I quit this. I had for weeks an impression in my vision of the light. I still can see it a little bit when I close my eyes.

    I used to watch out of the window and put the hands on my eyes and putting them away. It gave me a very clear image. I think I did this for 2/3 days about 15 min. for 3 weeks. Under one circumstance the image came back when closing my eyes. About weeks after having done this.. When looking on a computer screen with normal lighting I can see very faint stripes which is distracting.

    Now I’ve heard Newton also damaged his eyes in research for afterimages and it took him months for his eyes were near/fully recovered.

    I’d advice everyone too stay away from this “Military Method”. When you are as crazy as doing this. Don’t ever do this with a bright white light lamp and something with white color. It might be burned forever in your retina.

    Nobody wants to live like Elvis Presley having to wear a shades all the time. And yes it seems he also had a “photographic memory”.

    Why this probably works is we damage our eyes bye damaging the protective layer which protects or eyes for the UV-light so it receives more light. Image is longer present on Retina > Brains have more time to collect the image.

    What I advice everyone to do is learn to visualize so the brain becomes faster and doesn’t need to have the image burned on the retina like this.

    And for the record. It did not work for me. Visualizing helped me more than this crazy method. Just my two cents.

  28. It works I’ve been doing it for 27 days and it works perfectly I have a photographic memory thnks a lot

  29. I love this article amd I have my heart set on developing a photographic memory, but Im having trouble figuring out whether or not Im doing this correctly. SOME QUESTIONS: You arent supposed to read the paragraph right? Just see it? and another question is do you do it with the same paragraph every day or change it as soon as you memorize the other? Thank you.

  30. Collin what was your method? Did you use a desk lamp, how far was it from your face, etc? Try to be very specific in how you achieved this. I’ve been doing this for over a month and haven’t achieved any results. Can anybody else help?

  31. According to google it says “it is not possible to develop a photographic memory.” and here it’s mentioned “The good news is that you can develop a photographic memory.”
    Can you guys decide what’s possible?

  32. Hi Sean

    Just came across this article, useful but it needs a WARNING/ CAUTION clause and also perhaps encourge people to read people’s experiences in the comments. If someone just goes ahead, not reading the comments and God forbid, suffers the consequences like “guitarplayer” has mentioned, you will be to blame. You don’t want to live with that.

    Also people look at the comments and don’t just ignore people’s experiences.

    I agree, Visualization is a very powerful technique which is safe. I encourage people to use this and other safer memory training techniques.

  33. It actually works!!!! I am a med. student, i have used the Military Method above, and i have memories, complex details in biology, biochemistry, & anatomy. Dn’t just give up… its gr8t stuff. When i first started my brother do laugh at me, now am laughing @ him, “he jst started practice”

  34. I have been practicing this military method for 3 days now. I have diligently been doing it 15 minutes a day and I could say that by the end of it, I pretty much remember 95-98% of the paragraph, which pushed me to memorize different paragraph everyday. I am not quite sure if I am doing it right or what, but I followed all the instructions mentioned above. I feel like the very main thing to this is how to get ourselves FOCUSED on the subject, in which the suggested setup actually is conducive to achieve that ( at least for me, personally). One paragraph in a dark room– you basically don’t see anything else but the piece of paper you are staring at, so I think it really conditions our mind to focus JUST that single thing. Also, the moment I start reading the paragraph, I immediately create my own story and images (mostly funny ones) in my head and connect/associate each line to the next so I would easily remember the sequence of the paragraph. The moment I turned the light off, I do see the imprint but it fades so quickly that I could only catch a sentence. I keep repeating this method, then I just realized that by the end of my practice, I pretty much remember majority of it.

  35. Would it be possible to do the military method using your phone?
    If i have a paragraph of a book on a bright white background on my phone and quickly switch it on and off in a dark room, would you suppose it would have the same effect?

    Travis

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