The chimeric proteins, silk-elastin-like protein polymers (SELPs), consist of repeating units of silk and elastin to retain the mechanical strength of silk, while incorporating the dynamic environmental sensitivity of elastin. A retinal-modified SELP was prepared, modified, and studied for photodynamic responses. The protein was designed, cloned, expressed, and purified with lysine present in the elastin repeats. The purified protein was then chemically modified with the biocompatible moiety retinal via the lysine side chains. Structural changes with the polymer were assessed before and after retinal modification using Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy and circular dichroism spectroscopy. Optical studies and spectral analysis were performed before and after retinal modification. The random-coil fraction of the protein increased after retinal modification while the β-sheet fraction significantly decreased. Birefringence of the modified protein was induced when irradiated with a linearly polarized 488 nm laser light. Retinal modification of this protein offers a useful strategy for potential use in biosensors, controlled drug delivery, and other areas of biomedical engineering.