Plants utilize several families of photoreceptors to fine-tune growth and development over a large range of environmental conditions. The UV-A/blue light sensing phototropins mediate several light responses enabling optimization of photosynthetic yields. The initial event occurring upon photon capture is a conformational change of the photoreceptor that activates its protein kinase activity. The UV-A/blue light sensing cryptochromes and the red/far-red sensing phytochromes coordinately control seedling establishment, entrainment of the circadian clock, and the transition from vegetative to reproductive growth. In addition, the phytochromes control seed germination and shade-avoidance responses. The molecular mechanisms involved include light-regulated subcellular localization of the photoreceptors, a large reorganization of the transcriptional program, and light-regulated proteolytic degradation of several photoreceptors and signaling components.