The study of wave propagation in periodic systems is at the frontiers of physics, from fluids to condensed matter physics, and from photonic crystals to Bose-Einstein condensates. In optics, a typical example of periodic system is a closely-spaced waveguide array, in which collective behavior of wave propagation exhibits many intriguing phenomena that have no counterpart in homogeneous media. Even in a linear waveguide array, the diffraction property of a light beam changes due to evanescent coupling between nearby waveguide sites, leading to normal and anomalous discrete diffraction. In a nonlinear waveguide array, a balance between diffraction and self-action gives rise to novel localized states such as spatial “discrete solitons” in the semi-infinite (or total-internal-reflection) gap or spatial “gap solitons” in the Bragg reflection gaps. Recently, in a series of experiments, we have “fabricated” closely-spaced waveguide arrays (photonic lattices) by optical induction. Such photonic structures have attracted great interest due to their novel physics, link to photonic crystals, as well as potential applications in optical switching and navigation. In this review article, we present a brief overview on our experimental demonstrations of a number of novel spatial soliton phenomena in light-induced photonic bandgap structures, including self-trapping of fundamental discrete solitons and more sophisticated lattice gap solitons. Much of our work has direct impact on the study of similar discrete phenomena in systems beyond optics, including sound waves, water waves, and matter waves (Bose-Einstein condensates) propagating in periodic potentials.