Braun attended San Diego State College, where he studied journalism and took photos for the yearbook. After being drafted into the Army, he became a military photographer and accompanied troops into death camps after they were liberated.
After the war ended, he married and returned to California. He later studied at the Art Center College of Design in Southern California but never received a degree.
He took his first photo at age six on a camera given to him by his uncle. As an adult, he supported his family as a commercial photographer; from 1954 through 1968, he was Joe Eichler's lead photographer, although he also worked for modernists such as Wurster, Bernardi & Emmons, Lawrence Halprin, Joseph Allen Stein, Gardner Dailey and Roger Lee. He contributed to Sunset, Better Homes and Gardens, Architectural Forum, Architectural Record, Progressive Architecture, Look, Life and Fortune. In 1968 he received the American Institute of Architects' Architectural Photography Medal for outstanding achievement.
Eichler was his favorite client, because he gave him artistic freedom. Most architects and builders did not want people in their photos, but Eichler allowed Braun to do as he pleased.
In the 1960s he found his true calling as a nature photographer. The Trust for Public Land was one of his clients, and he submitted photos to Backpacker magazine. He also wrote several books about nature photography and taught nature photography at the California Academy of Sciences and the Point Reyes Field Seminar Program.
From ernestbraun.com and eichlernetwork.com