Honolulu Soldier Photographer Wins Top Honors

HONOLULU (KHON2) — United States Space Force Master Sergeant Angelina “Elle” Melendez, from Mililani and owner of Elle Rosegold Photography, a Bishop Street studio, has a smile behind her camera as she captures the true essence of the women around her captures.

Melendez was recently awarded top honors at the Julie Awards virtually by Go Boutique Live on February 15th. The Julie award was presented by Joy of Marketing, an organization that recognizes boutique portrait photographers internationally.

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“I was very shocked to be honored alongside other great photographers this year. I just opened my studio last year and I definitely put everything I had into it,” said Melendez.”

At first, Melendez wasn’t sure she would make it in the photography business, but with the guidance of her mentors and the support of her family, she jumped at the chance.

“In the beginning I experienced a lot of fear and uncertainty because I didn’t think I could turn this passion into something profitable. I’m really honored to have come this far,” Melendez said.

Melendez said she was inspired by Sarah Petty’s book Worth Every Penny and began her photography journey a year ago.

Courtesy of Elle Rosegold Photography. Views expressed and use of photographs in uniform do not imply endorsement by the Department of the Air Force.

According to Melendez, the idea of ​​photographing women in uniform came from her own 16-year experience as women.

“Coming back as a teenager, I knew it would be difficult for me to conform to so many regulations, most of which were written by men,” Melendez said. “I think my hair and nails were what kept me in hot water the most in my early years, and I always carried a mini-ruler and a copy of the regulations with me as a challenge.”

Melendez said she tried to hold on to tiny things that made her feel feminine because lack comes with the job, it’s a heavily male-dominated field.

“Day by day we have to limit a lot of what makes us unique and what makes us feel beautiful because the uniform becomes your identity. Just last year, various changes were made and we got some of our femininity back, which I’m grateful for,” said Melendez.

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Sarah Petty, founder of the Julie Awards and bestselling author for The New York Times, said Angelina is one of the few elite portrait photographers to receive awards around the world.

“She has set the standard for providing the highest quality boutique experience for her photography clients,” said Petty. “This award is a testament to the dedication and investment required to acquire the skills, creativity and service required to deliver an unmatched wall portrait experience.”

Melendez said her favorite part of photographing women in uniform is when they see themselves through her lens.

“My creative style is to present my clients as museum-worthy works of art, because I wouldn’t settle for just selling normal photos. It’s also a really transformative experience as some of my clients never wear makeup in uniform or in general,” Melendez said. “I can see them admiring themselves in the mirror in the studio and in their portraits at our reveal session, it’s the most amazing feeling for a photographer.”

According to Melendez, her studio “creates beautiful images that help women feel confident and celebrated in everyday life. Her mission is to use the art of photography to empower women to live and be their best version of themselves in every aspect of their lives.”

For more information on Elle Rosegold Photography, visit www.ellerosegold.com.

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