The topological insulator is a new electronic phase of matter that exhibits quantum-Hall-like properties even in the absence of a magnetic field. They are realized in strongly spin-orbit coupled band insulators and support surface states that behave like massless helical Dirac fermions. In this talk I will describe results from three different ultrafast laser-based techniques that we used to study the interaction between the topological electronic states of Bi2Se3 and light. These include time-of-flight spin- and angle-resolved photoemission spectroscopy, photo-induced electrical transport and time-resolved optical second harmonic generation. I will discuss how these techniques can be used to visualize detailed spin textures in topological insulators and to excite spin-polarized currents for potential spintronics applications.