Monomolecular films of 9-cis, 11-cis, 13-cis and all-trans retinal were formed at an air-water interface. Area/molecule and surface potential were measured before, during and after illumination. The initial quantum yield of the photoisomerization of 9-cis retinal was 0.25. Irradiation of a retinal monolayer resulted in 30 to 60 mVolt changes in surface potential. Complexation of retinals with lysine and cysteine were studied.