The phytochrome photoreceptor family regulates plant architecture in response to environmental light signals. Phytochromes mediate the shade avoidance syndrome, in which plants react to far-red radiation reflected from neighbors by elongation growth, occurring at the expense of leaf and storage organ production. We show that transgenic overproduction of phytochrome A in tobacco suppresses shade avoidance, causing proximity-conditional dwarfing. At high densities in the field, assimilates show an enhanced allocation to leaves, with a concomitant increase in harvest index. Transfer of this approach to other crop plants could provide significant improvements in productivity.