Laser-induced morphological changes of poly(methyl methacrylate), poly(N-vinylcarbazole), and gelatin films doped with porphyrins have been studied by etch depth measurement and scanning electron microscopy. An irreversible swelling of the irradiated surface was observed for all films in the case of low laser fluence. The swelling was replaced by ablation when the fluence was increased. The etch depth depends on the irradiation fluence and the dye concentration in the polymer. The observation of the irradiated surfaces suggests that the thermal effect is predominant both for swelling and ablation. The surface temperature at which swelling or ablation is initiated was estimated, assuming that these morphological changes take place at a certain temperature for any dye concentration in each polymer film.