In this paper, we propose a method to generate gold nanoparticles capable of absorbing near infrared light (NIR) radiation through a photochemical reaction. This approach does not require the use of either surfactants or polymers, reducing the difficulties that may arise in further chemical modifications for the gold nanoparticles. The gold nanoparticles with either triangular or hexagonal shapes were generated using the photo-reduction method, mixing hydrogen tetrachloroaurate with sodium oxalate, a reducing agent, in aqueous solution under illumination of a mercury lamp (λmax= 306 nm) for more than 10 min. The size of the gold nanoparticles varies from 25 to 200 nm, which mainly depends on the duration of light illumination and the concentration of sodium oxalate. Furthermore, we demonstrate that the presence of the gold nanoparticles in aqueous solutions can effectively elevate the temperature of the solutions under irradiation of NIR light (808 nm) within a few minutes. The gold nanoparticles can be potentially used as suitable photothermal agents for hyperthermia.