Understanding and management of light is of great importance for nanoscale devices. This report demonstrates enhanced absorption, photoluminescence and scattering in InP nanowires when coated with dielectric polymer shell. The shells increase absorption and emission by a factor of ~2 and photoluminescence by a factor of ~4. A thorough optical characterization is provided, including reflectance, transmission, luminescence and scattering to incident and transmitted directions. From this characterization, we derive the distribution of absorbed light within the structure (InP nanowires, Au seed particles and the substrate). Additionally, reflectance, transmission and emission are shown to become increasingly diffuse with the dielectric shells. The results are thought to provide better understanding in light-matter interaction in nanostructures, as well as to provide valuable tools for light and scattering management in nanoscale optoelectronics.