The piezophotonic effect is the coupling between piezoelectric properties and photoexcitation, where strain-induced piezopotential modulates and controls the relevant optical process. Specifically, metal ions as activators are capable of responding to photoexcitation and subsequent emission of light, also called mechanoluminescence, in general, and piezoluminescence specifically for piezoelectrics. These phenomena are helpful for understanding the materials fundamentals and conceiving widespread device applications. In this article, we briefly introduce the physical mechanisms of piezophotonics, including piezoluminescence. Selected host materials and metal-ion activators are described for demonstrating the piezophotonic effect. We provide a unified profile and recent prototypical demonstrations of light emission triggered by mechanical stimuli. The devices based on these materials offer the advantages of remote detection, nondestructive analysis, and repeatability, hence they are promising candidates for applications in stress sensing, structural health diagnosis, three-dimensional handwriting, magnetic-optical sensing, energy harvesting, biomedicine, novel light sources, and displays.