Asymmetric catalytic variants of sunlight-driven photochemical processes hold extraordinary potential for the sustainable preparation of chiral molecules. However, the involvement of short-lived electronically excited states inherent to any photochemical reaction makes it challenging for a chiral catalyst to dictate the stereochemistry of the products. Here, we report that readily available chiral organic catalysts, with well-known utility in thermal asymmetric processes, can also confer a high level of stereocontrol in synthetically relevant intermolecular carbon-carbon bond-forming reactions driven by visible light. A unique mechanism of catalysis is proposed, wherein the catalyst is involved actively in both the photochemical activation of the substrates (by inducing the transient formation of chiral electron donor-acceptor complexes) and the stereoselectivity-defining event. We use this approach to enable transformations that are extremely difficult under thermal conditions, such as the asymmetric α-alkylation of aldehydes with alkyl halides, the formation of all-carbon quaternary stereocentres and the control of remote stereochemistry.