Plant development is profoundly regulated by ambient light cues through the red/far-red photoreceptors, the phytochromes. Early phytochrome signaling events include the translocation of phytochromes from the cytoplasm to subnuclear domains called photobodies and the degradation of antagonistically acting phytochrome-interacting factors (PIFs). We recently identified a key phytochrome signaling component, HEMERA (HMR), that is essential for both phytochrome B (phyB) localization to photobodies and PIF degradation. However, the signaling mechanism linking phytochromes and HMR is unknown. Here we show that phytochromes directly interact with HMR to promote HMR protein accumulation in the light. HMR binds more strongly to the active form of phytochromes. This interaction is mediated by the photosensory domains of phytochromes and two phytochrome-interacting regions in HMR. Missense mutations in either HMR or phyB that alter the phytochrome/HMR interaction can also change HMR levels and photomorphogenetic responses. HMR accumulation in a constitutively active phyB mutant (YHB) is required for YHB-dependent PIF3 degradation in the dark. Our genetic and biochemical studies strongly support a novel phytochrome signaling mechanism in which photoactivated phytochromes directly interact with HMR and promote HMR accumulation, which in turn mediates the formation of photobodies and the degradation of PIFs to establish photomorphogenesis.