(BPT) - Itís graduation time! It took you four years to get to this point, but didnít it go by in a blink? With the big day approaching, youíll soon leave high school behind forever. So make sure you get keepsakes you can be proud of, like great senior portraits. You wonít have another chance! Youíll want senior portraits that truly capture your unique personality and talents. To help, Professional Photographers of America (PPA) has five tips for taking senior portraits that rock.

1. Find your style

Shirk Photography

Most people donít ever think they look like a hotter version of themselves in that cap and gown. Your senior portrait should show who you are. And working with a professional photographer can help you imagine settings, attire and props that will illustrate where you are and where youíre going. Not sure what your style is? Take the quiz at PPA.com/SeniorPhotoQuiz.

2. Follow the light

Suzanne†Deaton Photography

The right lighting will make you look your best, but bad lighting can make the best-looking guy and prettiest girl look awful. As youíre scoping out professional photographers, look at how they use light in the portrait samples they show you. Consider how they handle light in a variety of settings and for different poses. When you hire a PPA photographer, you want an expert who knows how to use natural and on-camera lighting to get the best shots, even in less-than-optimal circumstances. And in that vein Ö

3. Avoid the Ďcheese factorí

Weíve all seen those horrific high school headshots that haunt celebrities decades after. Inappropriate wardrobe choices, over glamorized hair and make-up, cheesy poses that make everyone look ridiculous. Look at websites and portfolios, and make sure none of the stuff you donít like appears anywhere in the photographerís work. Watch how these seniors avoided the "cheese factor!"

4. Make a Connection

John Pyle Photography

When you go to the salon, you chat with the hairdresser and nail tech not just to pass the time, you want them to get to know you better and establish a mutual trust, so that they can make you look your best. Same in photography! You also trust your photographer to make you look your best and capture your personality and interests. Feeling comfortable with your photographer is the most important thing because if you donít like the person behind the lens Ö that will show in the pictures.

5. Make Mom happy

Amy Doerring Photography

While a senior portrait is all about you, itís important to remember that you probably didnít get here on your own. Parents provide emotional and financial support, and they have a vested interest in your senior portrait and experience. Allow your parents to evaluate photographers and make a choice with you. Plus, your Momís going through an emotional time as she lets you go. So pick a photographer that makes her happy too; itís just a nice thing to do for her.

Now that youíre better equipped to find a photographer for your senior portraits, go find one! Hereís a handy find-a-photographer tool from PPA that will help you find a high school senior photographer near you: PPA.com/SeeTheDifference/Senior.