To control many physiological responses, phytochromes directly modulate gene expression. A key regulatory event in this signal transduction pathway is the light-controlled translocation of the photoreceptor from the cytoplasm into the nucleus. Recent publications are beginning to shed light on the molecular mechanisms underlying this central control point. Interestingly, there is a specific mechanism for phytochrome A (phyA) nuclear accumulation. The dedicated phyA nuclear import pathway might be important for the distinct photosensory specificity of this atypical phytochrome. Recent studies in the field also provide a starting point for investigating how the different subcellular pools of phytochrome can control distinct responses to light.