Abstract The photosensitive characteristics of organometallic films composed of silver and anthraquinone derivatives (AQDs) were investigated. AQDs with electron-attracting substituents form charge transfer complexes in which an electron is transferred from the silver to the AQD. Film complexes were fabricated both by vacuum deposition and using an electrochemical process. The photosensitive properties were investigated using argon laser light irradiation. The complexes decomposed to form silver colloids and AQDs after irradiation. The decomposition mechanism is discussed.