Imaging Spectrum Blog

Connect and Don’t Let a Cable Ruin a Gig


I am shocked to see how many times a $10 cable causes a delay or worse, a refund at an event because there are no backups.

I usually have about 5 of each cable with me at an event. I use power cables, USB A to B for printers and USB A to Mini for cameras and HDMI monitor cables.

I try to use the shortest power cables I can so I do not have to fold up the excess. Here is where I get my AC power cables. There are many lengths to choose from:

For my White Lightning and Alien Bee flashes I like to use 90 degree AC cable adapters to cut down on the stress that can be caused by a cable plugged straight into the back of the flash head.

IEC Connector C14 to C13 Extension Power Adapter Male to Female Right Angled 90 Degree

I also bought these for my chargers so I did not need long power cables:

USA NEMA 1-15P to C7

For your power cables, I cannot stress enough the need for a good surge protector power strip. They are about $20 to $30 and can be bought at any local hardware store. I also recommend a UPS battery backup especially in old buildings, outdoors, and anytime you are on a generator. We have both APC and CyberPower. A good one starts at $100. Buy them local at anyplace that sells electronics.

A USB cable can go about 15’ before starting to lose its signal. I recommend the shortest cable possible to do the job. I use these for my printers:

18” USB A-B:

Like the 90 degree power cables for my flash heads, I like 90 degree cables for my camera connections too. They were hard to find but I found these, they come from China but have been reliable (50 CM is about 20”).

50CM Mini USB B type 5Pin Male Left Angled 90 degree to USB 2.0 male data cable:

If you need longer cabling for cameras, etc., you must use a repeater to boost the signal as it transmits. These will go 80’ when put together:


I use a computer and touchscreen monitor in my booth and do need to connect the two. I use an 18” HDMI cable. PC Cables have lots of different lengths, here is what I use:

Another cable issue is sync cords. You cannot have enough sync cords. Most cameras used in photo booths do not have a PC sync connection and must have an adapter on the hot shoe to fire the flash. Another case where buying a cheap adapter when you need to make money is not the best option. For about $25 the Nikon AS15 is one of the best on the market. Best part about it, it has a screw lock so the sync cord can screw into the AS15 to reduce one possible disconnect. Yes, the AS15 works with Canon and Nikon. It is not TTL and simply connects the circuit to fire the flash:

I use FlashZebra to custom make locking sync cords for our system:

I hope that helps with some tips for all your cabling needs.

Bill Vahrenkamp, Cr.Photog., leads technical operations at Imaging Spectrum.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *