Photoacoustic imaging (PAI) is emerging as a key in vivo imaging technique. Endogenous contrast agents alone are insufficient to obtain high contrast images necessitating a need for synthetic exogenous contrast agents. In recent years a great deal of research has been devoted to the development of nanoparticle based contrast agents with little effort on molecular systems. Here we report on the design and evaluation of BODIPY inspired molecular photoacoustic contrast agents (MPACs). Through chemical modification of the established BODIPY fluorophore, increasing its vibrational freedom and appending with non-emissive functionalities, it is demonstrated that the S<sub>0</sub>-S<sub>1</sub> absorbed excitation energy is redirected towards a nonradiative excited-state decay pathway. Optical and photoacoustic characterization of the modified BODIPY MPACs demonstrates a stronger photoacoustic signal compared to the corresponding fluorescent BODIPY probes.