Amphiphilic porphyrin photosensitisers (PSs) having combinations of directly substituted pyridyl group(s) at the meso-position of a porphyrin macrocycle, and/or indirectly linked pyridyl groups as benzamide derivatives are reported. The compounds 5,10,15,20-tetrakis-(4-pyridylbenzamide)porphyrin (A.2), 5,10,15,20-tetra[N-(pyridine-4-yl)benzamidium] porphyrin (A.3), 5-mono-(4-pyridyl)-10,15,20-tris-(4-pyridylbenzamide)porphyrin (B.2) and 5-mono-(4-methylpyridinium)-10,15,20-tris-(4-pyridiniumbenzamide)porphyrin (B.3) were synthesised. The compounds were successfully characterised through UV–Vis, Emission, 1H NMR, and ESI-HRMS techniques. To evaluate the effect of this combination of directly conjugated and non-conjugated pyridyl/cationic pyridinium groups on the porphyrin macrocycle, the efficacy of the synthesised compounds was compared to a known standard 5,10,15,20-tetrakis(1-methylpyridinium-4-yl)porphyrin (TMPyP). These compounds show better efficacy (IC50’s ranging between 0.66 ± 0.04 μM to 3.71 ± 1.01 μM) against A549 (human epithelial adenocarcinoma lung cancer) cell line under in vitro photodynamic conditions in comparison to MDA-MB-231 (breast cancer) (IC50’s ranging between 3.7 ± 0.087 μM to 12.1 ± 0.12 μM) and Pa-1 (ovarian cancer) (IC50’s ranging between 17.9 ± 0.01 μM to 42.45 ± 0.02 μM) cell lines. It was found that B.3, having a pyridinium group attached to the meso-position of the macrocycle along with three distal cationic pyridinium groups, independent of the porphyrinic electron delocalisation cycle, showed better photocytotoxic efficacy (IC50 = 0.66 ± 0.04 μM, A549 lung cancer cell line) and higher potential to promote apoptosis and hence better efficacy as PS towards cancer photodynamic therapy (PDT). The PDT activity of B.3 was further verified and established by various biological assays, viz. Annexin V assay, cell cycle assay, and reactive oxygen species (ROS) activity assay. © 2017 Elsevier B.V.