All the way across the pond, and in the global landscape of editorial hair, HOB Academy international creative director, Akin Konizi, has a fair few trophies on his mantle, having won the prestigious title of British Hairdresser of the Year at the British Hairdressing Awards an amazing four times.

Akin is renowned for his attention to detail, precision cutting talent and pure editorial beauty, earning him enormous respect and ensuring creative inspiration in his many artistic works. Beyond his awards, his work has graced the covers of international magazines and constantly motivates the industry online.

Now, he’s giving you the benefit of his talent and experience by explaining his top tips for a winning editorial collection, to create a group of images that show your full potential as an editorial hairdresser. Whether you’re entering the Australian Hair Fashion Awards’ new Industry Choice Collection category, with entries opening in September, still submitting for the International Hairdressing Awards’ categories, which close on September 23, entering into brand competitions or just wanting to work on and improve your craft – this is the advice you need.

“People often ask me what makes a great collection – and the answer is there are no rules,” Akin said. “Imagery is subjective and what one person likes, another loathes. So, you have to shoot for yourself and create a collection that represents you and your skills. I have been incredibly privileged to have worked with some amazing photographers over the years and each of the collections are different and tell a different story.”

Akin’s tips begin with the need to create a moodboard as a starting point, to define a feel, theme and story. From there, prep is paramount.

“You can’t over prepare for a shoot,” Akin said. “There will always be something unexpected that happens, but the more you are prepared the less stressful it will be.”

As a third point, Akin advises you be true to yourself, channel your individual creativity and master it to the best of your ability.

“If you are shooting for an awards event, don’t shoot for the judges. Create a collection that showcases your skills and your passion. Judges will be looking at skill rather than choosing something they personally like,” he explained.

It’s also imperative to think ahead, know what the images will be used for and make the most of what can be expensive photographic time. Keep in mind your audience, from competitions to press, salon marketing and more, to decide the aesthetic level level of wearability and accessibility within your creative skills.

As is clear from this very article, it can be helpful to rely on experts, and this is particularly practical for the team you’ve assembled on set.

“The team you have chosen to work with are all experts in what they do, so listen to their opinions on lighting, or make up. Concentrate on the hair and let them worry about what they’re there to do; don’t get distracted by other elements on the day. Of course, give your feedback and opinion, but let them do their thing first,” Akin said.

Akin’s sixth tip is simple but often goes forgotten under all the stress of creating – remember to breathe.

“If you are stressed, it will show in your photos. You won’t create the amazing work you are capable of and you will be disappointed by the results,” Akin said. “There are plenty of people on a shoot so make sure everyone has a job and everyone there contributes in some way.”

Akin says it’s important to find your own style, while being inspired by others and harnessing those textures, shapes or colours that speak to you, but building it as your own. He also advises stylists have a production meeting with the whole team to discuss expectations, moodboards and ideas with the models, photographer, makeup artist, stylist, assistants and other hairdressers.

His finale message is a poignant one of positivity. “It’s easy to fall into a negative hole if something isn’t working, but stand back and start again, look at if from a different angle or move on,” he advised.

With that in mind, stay motivated, activate your creative skills and shows off what you got. And… go!