Optical imaging of fluorescent objects embedded in a tissue simulating medium was characterized using non-contact based approaches to fluorescence remittance imaging (FRI) and sub-surface fluorescence diffuse optical tomography (FDOT). Using Protoporphyrin IX as a fluorescent agent, experiments were performed on tissue phantoms comprised of typical in-vivo tumor to normal tissue contrast ratios, ranging from 3.5:1 up to 10:1. It was found that tomographic imaging was able to recover interior inclusions with high contrast relative to the background; however, simple planar fluorescence imaging provided a superior contrast to noise ratio. Overall, FRI performed optimally when the object was located on or close to the surface and, perhaps most importantly, FDOT was able to recover specific depth information about the location of embedded regions. The results indicate that an optimal system for localizing embedded fluorescent regions should combine fluorescence reflectance imaging for high sensitivity and sub-surface tomography for depth detection, thereby allowing more accurate localization in all three directions within the tissue.