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Advances in fluorescence microscopy promise to unlock details of biological systems with high spatiotemporal precision. These new techniques also place a heavy demand on the 'photon budget'-the number of photons one can extract from a sample. Improving the photostability of small molecule fluorophores using chemistry is a straightforward method for increasing the photon budget. Here, we review the (sometimes sparse) efforts to understand the mechanism of fluorophore photobleaching and recent advances to improve photostability through reducing the propensity for oxidation or through intramolecular triplet-state quenching. Our intent is to inspire a more thorough mechanistic investigation of photobleaching and the use of precise chemistry to improve fluorescent probes.