In shocking news, today we learned that legendary lighting manufacturer Paul C. Buff has died. According to his website:

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.

Though known more here in the United States due to his products not shipping easily worldwide, Paul C. Buff’s products are a mainstay. The original Alien Bees monobloc strobes changed the industry, offering power and short flash durations in a very affordable package. Recent innovations like the Einstein strobe and the Vagabond have become ubiquitous items found in nearly every photographer’s arsenal.

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.


paul c buff dies



Paul was known for an absolute tenacity to do what he believed to be the best decision, and that led to quite a bit of innovation in lighting. Though many disagreed with his policies, he still managed to build a lighting empire and that is something no one will argue with. Paul will be missed.

  • Craig Minielly

    I pass on my deepest condolences as I look over at my Bees scattered across the studio – thank you Paul, and God bless.

  • Tim Obas


  • The Einstein series is better than the B series Profoto in many ways. Especially the price but other ways too.
    This man spawned some wonderful products and is a testament to American innovation.
    Condolences to his family.

  • Got my first White Lightnings in the early 80s as a newspaper photographer in Utah, have to say those “coffee can” strobes taught me so much about lighting. Although I used dynalite for years I’ve been converting to the Einsteins and am amazed at what they are capable of. I have 4 now with plans to buy 2 more. RIP Paul.

  • Noel Del Pilar

    Very sad news… I receive today a battery replacement at no charge for my Vagabond II system. 🙁 Thanks Paul for the great products and excellent service!

  • Tim Timbo Shepard

    Awesome innovator and legend in the photography world. Alienbees are my first and only strobes I own. Love those things. RIP Paul C Buff your name will always be synonymous with excellent affordable lighting.

  • Incredible products and even better customer service. You will be missed, Paul!

  • Alfred Kypta

    RIP Paul!

  • Luke

    I can remember as late as last year seeing his comments in DIY lighting threads, helping photographers piece together lighting solutions he didn’t quite offer (in that instance, pairing super high-output inverters with large batteries for mobile strobe power).

    That left an impression on me of him being a real craftsman, and not just a manufacturer/marketer.

  • As someone who started my career in the lighting industry, Paul C. Buff was someone everyone else loved to hate. Very Steve Jobs in that sense. He was a great businessman who didn’t take crap from anyone. I never got to meet him myself, sadly, but I will always remember him. He has left quite a legacy. Rest in peace Paul. You changed an industry, and for that we thank you.

  • paul binsly

    Thanks Paul for many great products. The one I cannot live without is the Vagabond Mini. A lifesaver in everyday use to power my Macbook pro for video or photo editing in my car as I don’t like running the car just to power an AC-DC adaptor. My mother-in-law was stranded without power on the 7th floor of her building following Hurricane Sandy. I dropped off my Vagabond Mini with spare battery that I always keep charged in my car and she was able to charge her cell phone using usb port as well as have AC if needed. Your product in particular has been a useful tool beyond photography and that’s why it has a special place in my heart. Thanks for everything.

  • Ursula Page

    This makes me sad. I love all of my Paul C. Buff products and I appreciate him putting his heart into his business 🙂

  • Joe Tannerbauer

    My first strobes were the original small White Lightnings, still have 3 “Ultra Zaps”, which I don’t use anymore, but all were great products…so flexible–don’t have to tie yourself to a power pack like the others. RIP Paul!!

  • Tom Walker

    I have been very pleased with my PC Buff kit of Einsteins and associate.modifiers – the stuff worked and was cost competitive and yet lead the field in that segment – not a lot of folks doing that – quality call back checks – safety recalls !
    Not a lot of folks doing that !
    I liked how the company appeared from my vantage point up here in Canada !
    Rest well Paul Buff !
    Tom Walker Alberta

  • Joe Marshall

    My lighting go to guy- RIP Go light the way for the rest of us.

  • Matt Koegler

    He’s also being remembered in the Frank Zappa community. When the industry standard was mono, Paul, knowing nothing about music, built a 5 track studio, housing it in an old bedroom vanity and opened a studio in Cucamonga California. The song ‘Tijuana Surf’ was recorded there, BTW. By and by he ended up moving on an sold the studio to Frank, marked was the beginning of his career.

    RIP Mr. Buff!