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DJI Special Events Team: Randy Braun & Stacy Garlington

Randy Jay Braun is likely the most experienced drone photography instructor on the planet. He brings to this drone class 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 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 on 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 co-founded the DJI Aerial Photo Academy, a traveling workshop series teaching drone photography skills across North America. Braun and his partner produce and instruct drone photography workshops in fifty cities annually.


Stacy M Garlington is co-founder and instructor for DJI Aerial Photography Academy – the world’s only aerial photography education partner to be authorized directly by DJI.


Garlington stumbled upon a used DJI Phantom 1 quadcopter during her personal quest to become a noteworthy 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 her skills. Garlington was hired by the new Silicon Valley office to produce marketing events and brand the new DJI drones as a tool for photographers. She continued to augment 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. Her title changed to Product Experience Specialist. 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. Garlington is widely known for her ability to coach aerial photography. A few of her remarkable accomplishments include:

 Lead drone operator for NOAA permitted humpback whale research team Keiki Koholā Project 2017- present

•TEDx presenter: Perspective from Above

•Published in: TIME, Forbes & GQ Magazines

•Hands-on drone training for the New York TimesWall Street JournalBBC, & CNN staff reporters.

•Featured instructor at Adobe MAXSanta Fe Photography Workshops, Photoshop World & Imaging USA annual conferences.

•Featured profile in DJI Video collection: Journey to the Sky

•Featured profile story in documentary: Flight Club

• 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.

•Drone photography workshop organizer & instructor on a 50-city tour during 2018.

•Taught 5000+ individuals how to safely fly and use drones for aerial photography.

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