If you are just getting into aerial photography and have your eyes set on a Phantom, you should budget in a micro quad for training. I really like the Hubsan X4 because it is cheap (sometimes as low as $35 on Amazon!!) and is challenging to fly. If you master the Hubsan X4, the more advanced copters used in aerial photography will be a breeze to fly!
I use my RC skills to exercise my big white dog because he loves trying to chomp my RC stuff. This is also a great way to improve your skills because it becomes so dynamic. This can get a big expensive if you are just learning to fly so I recommend this once you have gotten pretty good at fast forward flights and figure 8's. My dog is old and lazy so a 5 minute session of full bore running after this usually makes him sleep all day!! If you happen to watch the video below, you will notice he managed to shoot it down once but the Hubsan X4 just kept on flying without any damage. I really do love this little quadcopter.