22 May A Thank-You to the Paul C. Buff Company
I wanted to take a moment to publicly thank the Paul C. Buff company, the makers of the AlienBee and Einstein studio strobes that I have been using for over 4 years now. This post isn’t about what a great product they make, though I’ve always been 100% happy with their performance, and I have no doubt that they are the best bang for the buck when it comes to photo lighting gear. This post isn’t about the fact that outside user error, not a single lighting unit or bulb has gone bad, and have been reliably popping countless times over those 4 years. My entire portfolio, aside from a shoot here or there where I got by using hot shoe flashes, were all composed with their lights and modifiers. This post is about their amazing customer service. Sure, there are a lot of great companies out there that make some pretty awesome things, but I believe when things go wrong, something breaks, and you have to call the manufacturers for some help… this is what separates the bad from the good, and the good from the spectacular. The Paul C. Buff team couldn’t get a higher review from me, and here’s my professional experience as to why.
A little over 4 years ago, I received my first 4 AlienBees, shipped right to my door. One of the modeling lights didn’t work (understandable, you can get a dud light or even the fact that they were shipped across the country and I’m sure bumped around a bit by the shippers). A ring to Paul C. Buff, no questions asked, shipped me a new one and didn’t charge me a cent, not even shipping. It’s important to mention that an American picked up the phone, was pleasant as could be, and completely reinforced all of the great things I’ve heard of the business even before I bought my lights.
Years and hundreds of photo shoots later, those same light are still popping. My lighting family also grew, as I now own 9 lights made by Paul C. Buff. As you could imagine over hundreds of shoots, accidents are inevitable and happen from time to time. Between the wind, a spiderweb of cords (tripping hazards), and other contributing factors, the lights will take an occasional tumble to the ground. Most of my lights have some war wounds from their years of service, yet they keep on poppin’. My two big oopsies both occurred within about of a month from each other, with one light taking a very nasty and hard fall to the ground (thanks to the ever resilient wind), and another was unknowingly plugged into a 220 volt outlet (as opposed to the standard 110 outlet) which resulted in a frightening “pop” and a cloud of smoke. Both lights were down for the count so I sent them to PCB to get serviced. My thoughts at the time were not only how much it would cost, but IF they could even be fixed from the resulting damage.
I’d only imagine upon receiving my package of two beat up lights, PCB would take me for some careless juggernaut photographer. One light dead from high impact, the other literally blown-up. Sure, one bad light would be understandable, but two… I wasn’t expecting any sympathy. I received word back from PCB, my lights were on their way back to me, with the invoice of me owing $0… nothing! The part repairs quoted as “warranty” parts. Ah… you guys are too sweet. Tossing a light to the ground and blowing up another are not covered under warranty, but you guys are just that awesome. They didn’t even charge for shipping. You guys simply rock. They provided a level of customer service for $400 lights that I wouldn’t even start to expect from a company who sold me $4,000 lights.
So… thank you, Paul C. Buff. I love your products, they are amazing, especially for the price. For the photographers out there reading this who are looking into buying a couple studio strobes, look no further. Reliable products with customer service to boot, you’d be crazy not to go with them.
Included in this post are a few BTS images of me working with the lights in a few different environments.