Organic dyes have been actively studied as useful photocatalysts because they allow access to versatile structural flexibility and green synthetic applications. The identification of a new class of robust organic chromophores is, therefore, in high demand to increase structural diversity and variability. Although coumarins and quinolinones have long been acknowledged as organic chromophores, their ability to participate in photoinduced transformations is somewhat less familiar. Fascinated by their chromophoric features and adaptable platform, our group is interested in the identification of fluorescent bioactive molecules and in the development of new photoinduced synthetic methods using coumarins and quinolinones as photocatalysts. This account provides an overview of our recent progress in the discovery and application of light-absorbing coumarin and quinolinone derivatives in photochemistry and medicinal chemistry.