Photoacoustic imaging employing molecular overtone vibration as a contrast mechanism opens a new avenue for bond-selective imaging of deep tissues. Broad use of this modality is, however, hampered by the extremely low conversion efficiency of optical parametric oscillators at the overtone transition wavelengths. To overcome such a barrier, we demonstrate the construction and use of a compact, barium nitrite crystal-based Raman laser for photoacoustic imaging of overtone vibrations. Using a 5-ns laser as the pumping source, up to 21.4 mJ pulse energy at 1197 nm was generated, corresponding to a conversion efficiency of 34.8%. Using the 1197 nm pulses, three-dimensional photoacoustic imaging of intramuscular fat was demonstrated.