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Iconic Manufacturer & Company Namesake Paul C. Buff Passes Away

By Kishore Sawh on March 24th 2015


In the photographic realm we are surrounded by brands that are anchors, and titans in their own right. They are the brands that have either been with us along the whole journey, or ones whose products we aspire to using. But in a sea of these faceless companies, Paul C Buff stood out as a company not only with a face, but with a soul.

His company, and the man himself, is built on a foundation of customer service, and this reputation was carried through the affordability, reliability, performance, and persona of his products. White Lighting brought direct customer-to-manufacturer product contact in a way never seen before, and then the Alien Bee strobes offered power and performance in an affordable package also never seen before. Both of these lines have gone on to become staples for many amateur and professional photographers alike, and along with more recent innovations, the Einstein strobes and Vagabond units, Paul C. Buff has become a quintessential brand that brings performance to the masses.

All of these products, and the company that has stood behind them, are in the spirit of the man behind it all, and it is with sadness that the company has announced that founder Paul C. Buff passed away this week age 78, survived by his wife Deborah and their family.

The company site has released a statement on his passing, and you can learn more about the man and the company he built here.

With great sadness we announce that our founder, Paul C. Buff, passed away this week at the age of 78. He has been living with his beloved wife of 16 years, Deborah, and their extended family in their secondary home in Mobile, Alabama for over a year and passed away in this home with his family around him. Those of us who have had the pleasure of knowing and working with Paul have lost an invaluable mentor, an inspiring leader, and a treasured friend. The world has lost one of its most creative and adventurous pioneers.

In the coming weeks, we will celebrate Paul’s unique and extraordinary life, giving customers, employees, and friends the opportunity to share their tributes and memories. But first, we must take time to pause and grieve the loss of a man who had such a great impact on us all. If you wish to offer condolences in the mean time, we invite you to email them to

For years, it has been our mission to advance Paul C. Buff, Inc. in the spirit of innovation and originality upon which it was founded. With gratitude for everything that Paul has taught us, we honor his memory by continuing to serve our customers with the outstanding products, support, and Golden Rule standards that he initiated.

This site contains affiliate links to products. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links, however, this does not impact accuracy or integrity of our content.

A photographer and writer based in Miami, he can often be found at dog parks, and airports in London and Toronto. He is also a tremendous fan of flossing and the happiest guy around when the company’s good.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Tom Bogan

    I first used the WL in 1984 that I purchased in Nashville on my way to a pageant. Best $400 for a light system ever. Helped produce the best images for pageants at the time. I will always be indebted to this pioneering lighting creator. God bless.

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  2. Faisal Ahmed

    R.I.P. Mr. Buff

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  3. Marlin Woodruff

    This is so sad to hear the passing of Paul C. Buff I love my Einstein and Vagabond mini set-up and I appreciate the solid build and performance R.I.P…

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  4. Rafael Steffen

    His enlightened ideas must go on.

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  5. jozef povazan

    Got my Einstein 640 kit yesterday, KUDOS to this man behind it. Peace be your journey :)

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  6. Brandon Dewey

    It is a sad day, I love all of my Paul C Buff equipment! R.I.P. Mr. Buff

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  7. John Cavan

    Paul C. Buff brought the idea of studio lighting into the hands of beginners and dedicated amateurs with solid quality at a very, very, reasonable price. I love my Alien Bees lights and, even if I someday move on to something else, I will be forever grateful that his efforts started me on that road.

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  8. Daniel Thullen

    Our strobes are a little dimmer today. Rest in Peace, Paul.

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  9. Graham Curran

    Alien Bees have a good reputation for quality and performance at an affordable price-level, unfortunately I don’t believe they are available in Europe. Always sad to hear of industry icons passing away.

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