All metazoan cells are able to make decisions about cell division or cellular differentiation based, in part, on environmental cues. Accordingly, cells express receptor systems that allow them to detect the presence of hormones, growth factors and other signals that manipulate the regulatory processes of the cell. In plants, an unusual signal-light-is required for the induction and regulation of many developmental processes. Past physiological and molecular studies have revealed the variety and complexity of plant responses to light but until recently very little was known about the mechanisms of those responses. Two major breakthroughs have allowed the identification of some photoreceptor signalling intermediates: the identification of photoreceptor and signal transduction mutants in Arabidopsis, and the development of single-cell microinjection assays in which outcomes of photoreceptor signalling can be visualized. Here, we review recent genetic advances which support the notion that light responses are not simply endpoints of linear signal transduction pathways, but are the result of the integration of a variety of input signals through a complex network of interacting signalling components.