Plants integrate a variety of environmental signals to determine the threat of competitor shading and use this information to initiate escape responses, termed shade avoidance. Photoreceptor-mediated light signals are central to this process. Encroaching vegetation is sensed as a reduction in the ratio of red to far-red wavebands (R:FR) by phytochromes. Plants shaded within a canopy will also perceive reduced blue light signals and possibly enriched green light through cryptochromes. The detection of canopy gaps may be further facilitated by blue light sensing phototropins and the UV-B photoreceptor, UVR8. Once sunlight has been reached, phytochrome and UVR8 inhibit shade avoidance. Accumulating evidence suggests that multiple plant photoreceptors converge on a shared signalling network to regulate responses to shade.