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Tips & Tricks

How We Shot It – One Light Sunset (YongNuo RF-603 Transceivers)

By Leo Hoang on November 8th 2012

Sunset One Light
I had purchased YongNuo RF-603 triggers a few months back, whilst I was on holiday in Thailand. I literally only purchased them as I had to spend the last of my Thai Baht.

For months they either sat in my bag, or were used as a remote shutter. I never actually used them to trigger any of my flashes, as I’ve been quite content with Nikon’s CLS (Creative Lighting System).

I decided to head out and give them a go!

They were very easy to setup, as it was merely plug and play.

How I Shot It

I wanted to capture the sunset in the background, but keeping the subject exposed.
I had to expose for the sky by lowering the ISO and maximizing the shutter. The maximum shutter speed for my Nikon D800 is 1/8000sec, but to allow my flash to sync correctly as I was using the YongNuo RF-603 triggers, I was limited to a maximum shutter speed of 1/250sec. To compensate for the slower shutter, I had to close down my aperture to f/11.

The flash was set to the left of the subject, my right, fairly close to the subject and just out of the frame.


The Nikon SB900 was set on top of the YongNuo RF-603, and manually set it to full power (1/1). Aperture controls flash exposure, so with a small aperture of f/11, I knew I needed a lot of power to compensate for that. I was also shooting through an umbrella to spread the light, so I began at full power to test the exposure, and it turns out, it was the perfect exposure. Thankfully I didn’t more power from my flash, as I was maxed out. Opening up the aperture or increasing ISO would’ve boosted the flash exposure, but it would’ve boosted the ambient also.

How I Edited It

If shot in camera correctly, there’s not much post-production needed.

Sunset One Light Unedited

I imported this image into Lightroom 4 with the “01 Standard Import (w/ PC) +” preset, from the SLR Lounge Lightroom 4 Preset System, and then increased the white balance to 5500k and Clarity to +25.

Sunset One Light
I wanted to shoot with the Yongnuo’s as not everyone has the luxury of using Nikon CLS, and therefore cannot flash sync at 1/8000sec. The YongNuo RF-603’s can be picked up quite cheaply, and there are plenty of 3rd party manual flashes which pump out just as much power than the Nikon SB900. So to anyone looking to step into off-camera lighting, you do not need the most expensive gear to get started, and the YongNuo RF-603’s are very affordable.

For the price, I would recommend them, but if you don’t want to take my word for it, take Gene Higa’s word for it! ;)

Basic Information

1) Camera: Nikon D800
2) Lens: Nikon 50mm F/1.4G
3) Flash: SB900
4) Flash Trigger: YongNuo RF-603
5) Settings: ISO100, 1/250sec, f/11

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Leo Hoang is a professional photographer based in London who shoots Weddings, Events and Real-Estate.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Joseph Prusa

    Thanks for sharing

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  2. Ed Rhodes

    nice shot, thanks for sharing

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  3. Emmanuel

    Hi! I’m looking to get 3 Yongnou 560 III and an RF-603 Trigger. Am I correct in assuming that I can use 1 speedlight and trigger as a master on my D800, then the other two speed lights as slaves?
    Secondly do I only need one trigger on the camera? will the speed lights automatically receive the signal?

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  4. Techiebug

    Hi, what does the D800 remote cable look like? I think I got the wrong one. Do you know where I could buy the cable to use it as a remote shutter? Thanks!

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  5. Edan Davey

    When you set the shutter to 1/250th, did you not see any shutter clipping at all when using the 603s? I use a D700 with three different flashes and at 1/250th, I see slight shutter clipping at the bottom of the shot. Your image would completely hide this, as it’s black at the bottom. At 1/200th, all is clean.

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  6. René

    I was just playing around with my own set of 603’s! I’ve got a pair and also own the Canon 600 EX and a YongNuo YN560. I would actually like to buy another speedlite, and I was wondering whether I could just buy another pair of YongNuo RF603’s and use three of these triggers together simultaneously? This was just an idea that popped into my mind recently, so I’m not quite sure if it will work? (I’m new to all-things-DSLR). 

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    • Leo Hoang

      I bought 2 sets of 2xYongNuo RF-603’s, one came with the D7000 remote cable, and the other came with D800 remote cable, and all YongNuo RF-603’s worked together. So the three light setup you want to try should work. 

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  7. Jan Karlo Camero

    not sure why choose a narrow aperture to “compensate” for a low ISO/slow shutter. It just doesnt make sense. 1/250 is actually fast and allows the full power of flash at this sync speed.

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    • Leo Hoang

      With ISO being at it’s lowest, and shutter being at it’s highest, the only other way I could decrease the ambient light, and pull more detail from the sky was to stop down to f/11. 

      If I were using Nikon CLS, then I could have used a faster shutter to control the ambient light, however with the YongNuo’s, I am limited to 1/250sec. 

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  8. Boris Soliz

    I like the article and very simple. But, the link to Gene Higas article is wrong. You have an extra ” at the end of the link Href tag. It takes me to a 404 page on SLR Loung. 

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    • Leo Hoang

      Apologies. Thanks for the heads up. The link has been corrected. 

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  9. Peter H.

    I’m surprised you didn’t match up the light temp on the model to match the ambient light more. Looks obvious that it was a studio flash.

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    • Leo Hoang

      I could have used an adjustment brush to warm up the subject a bit more, or even a Gel on the actual Flash Head, however this was not a serious shoot. I was actually out with a friend testing out his V1 with 18.5mm lens, D5100 with 35mm f/1.8G, and my D800 with 50mm f/1.4G. 

      I’ll be writing up an article soon regarding focal lengths/field of view/equivalent focal lengths. 

      But as I was on my way out, I saw the sun setting so grabbed my SB900 and YongNuo’s to test how the YongNuo’s would handle this shoot. 
      I was just trying to demonstrate that even if you had consumer gear such as Nikon D3000 etc. you could still pull off using off-camera lighting without the need of Nikon CLS or expensive triggers such as Pocket Wizards. 

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