BACKGROUND Harmonic Nanoparticles are a new family of exogenous markers for multiphoton imaging exerting optical contrast by second harmonic (SH) generation. In this tutorial, we present the application of Hyper-Rayleigh Scattering (HRS) for a quantitative assessment of the nonlinear optical properties of these particles and discuss the underlying theory and some crucial experimental aspects. METHODS The second harmonic properties of BaTiO3, KNbO3, KiTiOPO4 (KTP), LiNbO3 and ZnO nanocrystals (NCs) are investigated by HRS measurements after careful preparation and characterization of colloidal suspensions. RESULTS A detailed analysis of the experimental results is presented with emphasis on the theoretical background and on the influence of some experimental parameters including the accurate determination of the nanocrystal size and concentration. The SH generation efficiency and averaged nonlinear optical coefficients are then derived and compared for six different types of NCs. CONCLUSIONS After preparation of colloidal NC suspensions and careful examination of their size, concentration and possible aggregation state, HRS appears as a valuable tool to quantitatively assess the SH efficiency of noncentrosymmetric NCs. All the investigated nanomaterials show high SH conversion efficiencies, demonstrating a good potential for bio-labelling applications.