Several classes of small organic molecules exhibit properties that make them suitable for fluorescence in vivo imaging. The most promising candidates are cyanines, squaraines, boron dipyrromethenes, porphyrin derivatives, hydroporphyrins, and phthalocyanines. The recent designing and synthetic efforts have been dedicated to improving their optical properties (shift the absorption and emission maxima toward longer wavelengths and increase the brightness) as well as increasing their stability and water solubility. The most notable advances include development of encapsulated cyanine dyes with increased stability and water solubility, squaraine rotaxanes with increased stability, long-wavelength-absorbing boron dipyrromethenes, long-wavelength-absorbing porphyrin and hydroporphyrin derivatives, and water-soluble phthalocyanines. Recent advances in luminescence and bioluminescence have made self-illuminating fluorophores available for in vivo applications. Development of new types of hydroporphyrin energy-transfer dyads gives the promise for further advances in in vivo multicolor imaging.