Cherrytree Group Blog

Interview with Melinda Sokoloski, Owner and Lead Photographer of MSAerial

[fa icon="calendar"] Dec 14, 2015 11:19:00 AM / by Yelena Tsvaygenbaum

Currently, the industry is modernizing by using Drones to photograph contaminated sites, provide 3D modeling on Mills, and take aerial photos to assist developers in designing their projects. Recently, Cherrytree Group's Yelena Tsvaygenbaum had the opportunity to interview Melinda Sokoloski, owner and founder of MSAerial, an aerial photography company which specializes in using drones to photograph redevelopment projects. Melinda, was able to talk about the various benefits of using drones for different aspects of development project as well as talk about the future of Drones in the industry. This is a technology that we are embracing, as we feel it will benefit our clients and enhance the services we provide.

About Melinda Sokoloski

Melinda Sokoloski is one of Boston’s premier photographers. Melinda started in business after receiving a combined degree from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and Tufts University. She does everything to photographing for newspapers, magazines, headshots, weddings and more. Her company now includes the aspect of aerial photography with s UAS (small aerial unmanned systems). She can capture any angle in real time and do it efficiently and inexpensively. Melinda has been featured in publications globally. As well as recently being awarded "Best of the Knot" She participates and lends her expertise to several charity events a year including the American Cancer Society, various community events with the Houghs Neck Community Council, as well as her own charities that include her love for pets. Melinda's clients include Zaggots, Talbots, the Associated Press, and countless corporations and small business owners. You can see more of her work at

Below is the full interview between Melinda Sokoloski and Yelena Tsyagenbaum.

Yelena: I’ve had the pleasure of speaking with Melinda Sokoloski, the Owner and Lead Photographer of MSAerial, a photography company that uses drones to photograph construction and real estate projects. Melinda could you tell me a little bit about your company?

Melinda: MSAerial is an FAA certified highly trained group of individuals that develop Aerial Surveys in New England. We found that our drones can photograph any space, including mills, quarries, riverbeds and roadways. Because of the drone’s ability to go above treacherous terrain, UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) are perfect for hazardous or structurally unsound properties.

Yelena: Many readers may have heard of drones, which I now understand are also referred to as UAVs. Recently I have learned that companies such as Amazon may be using drones to deliver packages. Could you tell me a little bit about how UAVs (drones) may be used in the commercial real estate industry?

Melinda: Yes! Information is often as important as money and time, when a large development project is underway. UAVs can provide real-time and catalogued progress of any commercial or industrial project. Traditionally, land based photography and videography could only capture part of the whole picture. To supplement, full scale helicopters and fixed wing aircrafts were utilized to fill the gaps where possible. With drone based photography and videography, the speed of survey information has exponentially increased. Additionally, UAV based imagery comes at a fraction of the cost associated with traditional full scale aircraft photography. At MSAerial, we work with engineers and project managers to capture the needed imagery which also includes Photogrammetry and topography - then the imagery is quickly shared in either in real time or via a private ftp.

Yelena: Switching from helicopter use to drones seems very efficient. What about stakeholders that have never used photographers, what benefits may drone photography provide to them?

Melinda: My instant response is that you see bigger swatches of land or information in a shorter amount of time, minimizing on site injuries and maximizing use of time. You are not inhibited by structures man-made or otherwise, because of your birds-eye view, making building inspection and site mapping effortless. We also have clients that contact us to capture what different floors will have for a “view”. This is a really fun project for us! We do one floor at a time and build a 3D model. It really has changed the way an investor sees a developer’s work.

Yelena: Can you tell me more about the 3D models?

Melinda: This is a really exciting tool for the commercial real estate industry, especially in the urban environment. The 3D models can completely change how projects are presented to investors. To create 3D models, we receive the exact specs from the architect, meaning where each floor is located based on sea level. We are then able to put that into our computer and make a route around where this structure will be built. Before drone photography, people pretty much guessed what the view was and presented the view as seen from the ground (first floor). Multi-floor real estate projects may now be better priced, as each stakeholder may see the view as it seen per floor. By using photogrammetry our company is able to measure real estate with photographs. This science is a fabulous tool for architects and engineers. Combining this skill with custom views as mentioned it gives a comprehensive understanding of a parcel real estate investment.

Thank you Melinda for educating me on this service! Drone photography for real estate projects may be a seamless and low cost advantage for real estate professionals. Specifically, for companies like ours that work on tax credit projects in locations far from our home base, the ability to see the building helps to give us a picture of the deal and adds a visual reference that would not have been available to us under current technologies. We may be contacting you to help us better serve our clients.


For more information on how Drones can be used in your next project visit



Topics: tax credit case study

Yelena Tsvaygenbaum

Written by Yelena Tsvaygenbaum

Yelena Tsvaygenbaum serves as Corporate Counsel for the Cherrytree Group.

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