Popular Photo Accessory Company Photoflex Just Went Out Of Business Without Warning

Popular Photo Accessory Company Photoflex Just Went Out Of Business Without Warning

After 30 years in business, the popular photography and video lighting accessory company Photoflex has suddenly and without warning closed its doors. To this day, I still use and enjoy my Photoflex extra large softboxes, and I am shocked by the news considering they were just at Photokina earlier in March. Read below to learn more.

According to Photoflex's website prior to their closing:

For a quarter century Photoflex® has produced lighting products that are driven by: Innovation, Quality, Versatility and Durability. We’re proud to present our products to the photo, film and video industries worldwide. 

We base our products around three simple, but crucial rules.

  1. Quality. Produce the finest, most versatile product at a fair price and back it up with the best warranty possible. We take personal pride in putting the Photoflex® name on a product that you pay money for. That pride is reflected and backed up by giving you a warranty that is at least two to five times longer than almost all other manufacturers in the industry. We will not sacrifice the credibility of our products simply to cut prices. 
  2. No Gimmicks. We won’t build something that we wouldn’t use ourselves.  We have two photo/video studios where we test the prototypes and shoot all of our product photos, instruction sheets, and product demonstration lessons for PhotoflexLightingSchool™. If the products don’t pass the test there, they don’t go to market.

    Other “manufacturers” shop the trade shows and buy products off the shelf from factories that they then put their labels on. Not Photoflex®. We design and build our products from scratch. We produce our own fabric, build our own molds, and create our own designs into prototypes to be tested in our own studios, sometimes taking over a year to get the finished product.

    This is why products such as the LiteDome®, LiteDisc®, and LitePanel have been in production for over 20 years virtually unchanged. They were designed correctly the first time, and all have five or six year warranties because of it.

  3. Customer Service. We don’t make the customer pay for our mistakes. We believe that you, the customer, signs our paycheck. Therefore, our goal is to provide the finest customer service in the business. We have always had real people answer the phone to help you with your issues and questions and we will continue to pursue our goal of being there for you in the future.

The top professionals in the world have been using Photoflex® products for 30 years and continue to do so because Photoflex® is driven by these three rules.


When you email the GMAIL address listed in the announcment on the top of this post, you are met with this autoresponse: "Photoflex Operations have ceased on March 27, 2015.  Please contact our Attorney Michael Malter or Nan Corber..."

The curious part of this story is the fact that Photoflex announced a partnership earlier this March with Flaghead Photographic to expand their operations.

Photoflex also was active on their social media right up until they announced that they were going out of business. It's a sad state of affairs when iconic award-winning photographic companies are closing their doors like this. I reached out to some folks that I knew worked for Photoflex right until the final days. I will update this article if and when I receive a statement.

Douglas Sonders's picture

Commercial Photographer (mainly Phase One medium format digital) and filmmaker based out of NYC. Started a site called Notabully.org to spread stories about well-behaved and positive pitbulls. Love cars, 80s movies, dogs, and adventure. Free time is spent traveling, sleeping, adventuring, or working on my baby, a 1969 Mustang Mach 1.

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I will put money this is an April fools joke....

Oh, please, let it be so!

i fear that is unlikely. google the lawyer's names in the email auto response and it leads to a reputable bankruptcy law firm

True, but the email address listed on the picture is GMAIL, and their website shows the following email addresses

it'd be great PR stunt, bad or good PR is good PR, free advertising... April Fool's joke this elaborate is perfect for that.

Advertising is good, but with modern social media relationships built upon trust and mutual exchange are better. With today's Web 2.0 world, things work much differently than good or bad PR. Companies no longer control their message and therefore must approach everything with caution, especially on stunts like this. Hopefully it works for them. it got all of us talking. However, there are many communication professionals who might believe this wasn't in the best long-term interest of the company. Time will only tell. What a bold stunt though.

I wonder why the website wasn't taken down...

I work for the Canadian Distributor of Photoflex, I can confirm.

still don't believe you.

Jeez, seems like they are dropping like flies. Last year Calumet and now this

Yes, all the damn hobbyist buy knock offs because the "big guys" charge way to much (they don't, it's their business model). This is why every time I see a article reviewing a full fledge knockoff I am truly saddened. All the hobby photographers are so cheap they will justify it no matter what and are beyond reproach.

i can say i respectfully disagree with you, i work for a boutique facility for the last 12 years, and during this time I've seen several trend changes, like we used to have jvc and sony camcorders, then we did move to dslr, is not that the camcorders were too expensive (well in a way we all know they are for the specs they offer) but we had to adapt with the economy, and with what seems at the time a wise investment, so we can keep our self competitive in the market as well, for personal use i don't like to just go with fan boys and buy expensive gear if i can't justify it, for me is more what can get me there without over investing and then filing for bankruptcy since i didn't invest well in first place. some company models are ridiculous, they don't listen to their costumers base, they don't improve their products or services, neither they think about the different tears of the market, they just want to keep doing business their way, without actually giving better options, i'm not saying lower your gear cost till it makes no sense to be in business, what i'm saying is taking in consideration the different markets out there, and how they affect your business core in a whole, then try to aim for a different market or incorporate and educate them into yours. sure if company helps me grow my business to the point i can afford the hi end line, ill do it more than gladly, since i know already they care and help their costumers, we are not just another hobbyist trying to get into the big guys segment, we are start up, entry level professionals more of the time, we didn't start in the golden era and so we have to be wiser on what we do invest in.

Maybe it's just this?

Sadly it's not an April Fools Day joke, I work for the Canadian distributor and can confirm.

looks like I'll be stocking up on a bunch of white umbrellas today, they make the best low cost umbrella.


This sucks, but it's not a shocker.

Camera sales are falling and there is intense competition in lighting.

Appears to be more credible than the Canon buying Yongnuo story.

Did anyone else catch that it says when you email the GMAIL address? I wonder if this marketing scheme will play out for them tomorrow :)

The Image shows a GMAIL address

Yet their website lists the following

I emailed the marketing department a test email. Seems to be working.

If it's a marketing scheme they'll find that it will backfire on them.

Here are some scenarios.

1- They pretend to have managed to avoid closure somehow.
Who will buy their equipment if the company is on the brink of closure? The uncertainty of the companies viability makes their warranties completely useless and so people will go shop elsewhere.

2- They admit it's a publicity stunt.
They've just pissed off their costumers ... those who had orders waiting, those who had gear in for repairs ...

If it is a publicity stunt their comms and marketing people need to be fired ... preferably out of a cannon.

I think this is probably the real thing.

It's also illegal to advertise in the form of business closing, close out sales, etc.

Might be for when their hosting shuts down and/or domain name expires?

Maybe. but I sent test emails out and they pinged just fine. I couldn't imagine a marketing department or communications department would ever let this be a publicity stunt, but the GMAIL thing does post an interesting question. And yes, I do have too much time on my hands to do that...even though I defend my thesis tomorrow. Ugh, F-Stoppers, stop being a productivity vacuum.

Sent out an email this morning that just said "test" with no subject ;line. Received an email back from accounting. Looks like more than just GMAIL is operational?

You replied on 4/1/2015 8:33 PM.

Received this email, are you testing something specific?

Thank you

cmon guys, i bet it's a joke, extended to "canadian distributors" as well...

I guess we'll see tomorrow. However, their website does state that it's under construction. So I doubt they would do this during regular business hours, even if it is a joke.

This is what happens when you buy Youngnao.

Except that Photoflex's StarFire flash appears to be a re-badged Yongnuo YN-460 II flash.

Yeah ... that REALLY looks like the YN-460.

Used to own a bunch of them. they were great for risky shots where the flash risked getting damaged (falling in water, off a cliff ...). 30$ vs 600$ for a 580EXII.

Had a client break one on a shoot, they were super apologetic, I just shrugged it off and grabbed another from the bag.

Interesting. From a communications background, not sure this was possibly the best April fools joke but hey, time will tell. Might yield a great case study none-the-less. :)

Maggie linked to a 2011 post. it has nothing to do with their closure announcement.
And yeah, I agree with you. From a PR point of view, this would be a very foolish April Fools joke.

Oh dear. I just googled whether it was an April Fools prank and it led to that link. My apologies!

Why are you linking to a 2011 April fools post?

FRIDAY, APRIL 01, 2011
April Foolishness

That post is from April 2011.

I would guess finical implosion. Tax time and the end of the Fiscal quarter. I am guessing they ran out of capital. If it is a joke then they need to go out of business because of stupidity.

I never bought their stuff, BTW that logo, what's with that eye and triangle, some sort of secret society or association tie in?

It looks like its back in business according to their homepage now.

Absolutely true. They've gone down hill ever since the founder got sick a few years ago. Horribly mismanaged by his nitwit business partner ever since. They fired everyone who made the company great including anyone with a shred of an understanding of photography. They screwed the pooch. Too bad because the gear had steadily improved for a while.