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Getting Started with Drones and Aerial Photography

Are You New? Jump-Start Your Knowledge About Small Drones & Successful Aerial Photography

This comprehensive 21-page ebook is free to you. DJI Drone Photo Academy Instructors Randy & Stacy wrote this ebook for absolute "newbies". If you are hoping to jump-start your drone photography knowledge and skills, this book will get you there with confidence.

Sections include:

  • Today's Drones
  • Exactly What Gear do I Need to Start?
  • I'm Afraid!
  • Your Friends at the FAA
  • Best Practices and Safety
  • Insurance, or Not?
  • Purchasing Your Drone
  • Unboxing and Setup
  • The App You Will Need
  • First Flight
  • Second Time Flying
  • Third Time Flying
  • Post-Processing for Better Drone Photos


Your Instructor


Randy Braun & Stacy Garlington
Randy Braun & Stacy Garlington


Randy Jay Braun is likely the most experienced drone photography instructor on the planet. He brings to this drone workshop a lifetime of professional photography experience, with more than 200 drone classes and workshops under his instruction.


The DJI Phantom quadcopter came onto the market in late 2012. Braun was one of the first professional photographers in the world to adapt to this new genre of aerial image capture. He began testing prototype drones and cameras for DJI, the world’s largest drone company. DJI solicited Braun’s help to promote the Phantom consumer drone across social media channels in the Western world.

In 2014, Braun published the first-ever book about the topic, entitled, Aerial Drone Photography: Essential Methods with Your Phantom Quadcopter.

DJI hired Randy Braun full-time in 2014. After several weeks working with the company founders in the Shenzhen, China headquarters, Braun helped open the first official North America office in the basement of a co-worker, in Silicon Valley, California.

Braun served as Director of Product Experience for DJI. He traveled worldwide demonstrating practical and unlikely uses of the new quadcopters. Braun split time between the Shenzhen Headquarters and Silicon Valley for three years as the company began its rapid global expansion. Braun was part of the launch teams for the Inspire 1, Phantom 3, Phantom 4, Mavic Pro drones.

Braun created DJI’s Still Photography Development Team, insisting that small drones would forever change the playing field of photography. During this tenure, he became an international expert; a spokesperson for aerial drone photography, lecturing at every major photography and drone conference worldwide.

In 2017 he left the corporate headquarters and co-founded the DJI Aerial Photo Academy, a traveling workshop series teaching drone photography skills across North America. As an official partner of DJI, Randy Braun and co-founder Stacy Garlington produce and instruct drone photography workshops in fifty cities annually.

Other accolades include:

  • Thirty five years as a full-time professional photographer.
  • Owner of three Randy Jay Braun fine-art photography galleries - Maui, Hawaii.
  • Owner of the Randy Jay Braun Portrait Studio, the most prominent photography studio statewide.
  • Created the Randy Jay Braun collection of Hula/Hawaiian vintage cultural images, collected and distributed globally.
  • Creator of scores of photography adventure tours leading groups throughout Italy and Hawaii.


Stacy M Garlington discovered the potential of DJI Phantom 1 quadcopter during her personal quest to become a more astute photographer. She attached a GoPro camera to the drone and practiced her flight and aerial photography skills voraciously. At the same time, DJI was expanding into North America.


DJI recognized Garlington's skills. She was hired at the new Silicon Valley office as Product Experience Specialist. She continued to solidify her flying abilities, developing a technical knack for flying in difficult locations and situations.

DJI brought Stacy Garlington to the Shenzhen, China headquarters in 2014 to expand her responsibilities in the drone industry. She quickly became DJI’s lead demo pilot and a spokesperson for the Phantom drone series.

An underlying interest in photography guided her path during her next two years with DJI. After teaching literally thousands of corporate and private students, Garlington earned her reputation as a top aerial photography coach. Her accomplishments include:

  • Lead drone operator for NOAA permitted humpback whale research team Keiki Kohola Project 2017- present
  • TEDx presenter: Perspective From Above
  • Published in: TIME, Forbes & GQ Magazines
  • Hands-on drone training for New York Times, Wall Street Journal, BBC, & CNN staff reporters.
  • Featured instructor at Adobe MAX, Santa Fe Photography Workshops, Photoshop World & Imaging USA annual conferences.
  • Featured profile in DJI Video collection: Journey to the Sky
  • Featured profile story in Lynda.com documentary: Flight Club
  • Skypixel.com Gallery World Tour contributor
  • Selected for book publications Masters of Drone Photography and Above the World – Earth Through a Drone’s Eye.
  • Phantom 3 launch event keynote presenter before a worldwide online & live press audience.
  • Co-developer of DJI’s internal Still Photography Development Team.
  • Taught 5000+ individuals how to safely fly and use drones for aerial photography.


Find out why Randy & Stacy are the only instructors authorized and sanctioned by DJI headquarters to teach drone photography using DJI drones.


Course Curriculum


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Frequently Asked Questions


Can I read this book from my tablet, or phone?
Yes, access this book any time by simply logging into your Teachable account.
Will I be able to download this book and save it to my computer?
Absolutely! It is yours. There is a download link visible after you are logged in and open your book.
Will I be able to print this ebook?
Yes, you can print your book after you download the PDF to your computer. Keep in mind that this book is 21 pages with color photos.

Thank you so much for downloading Getting Started With Drones & Aerial Photography ebook. After reading this book, you may be interested in our full six-hour Premium Masterclass. We hope to see you in class.

~Randy & Stacy, Co-Instructors at DJI Drone Photo Academy

Get started now!