The ability to modify biologically active molecules such as antibodies with drug molecules, fluorophores or radionuclides is crucial in drug discovery and target identification. Classic chemistry used for protein functionalisation relies almost exclusively on thermochemically mediated reactions. Our recent experiments have begun to explore the use of photochemistry to effect rapid and efficient protein functionalisation. This article introduces some of the principles and objectives of using photochemically activated reagents for protein ligation. The concept of simultaneous photoradiosynthesis of radiolabelled antibodies for use in molecular imaging is introduced as a working example. Notably, the goal of producing functionalised proteins in the absence of pre‐association (non‐covalent ligand‐protein binding) introduces requirements that are distinct from the more regular use of photoactive groups in photoaffinity labelling. With this in mind, the chemistry of thirteen different classes of photoactivatable reagents that react through the formation of intermediate carbenes, electrophiles, dienes, or radicals, is assessed.