raspistill is the command line tool for capturing still photographs with the camera module.

Basic usage of raspistill

With the camera module connected and enabled, enter the following command in the Terminal to take a picture:

raspistill -o cam.jpg

Upside-down photo

In this example the camera has been positioned upside-down. If the camera is placed in this position, the image must be flipped to appear the right way up.

Vertical Flip & Horizontal Flip

With the camera placed upside-down, the image must be rotated 180° to be displayed correctly. The way to correct for this is to apply both a vertical and a horizontal flip by passing in the -vf and -hf flags:

raspistill -vf -hf -o cam2.jpg

Vertical and horizontal flipped photo

Now the photo has been captured correctly.


The camera module takes pictures at a resolution of 2592 x 1944 which is 5,038,848 pixels or 5 megapixels.

File size

A photo taken with the camera module will be around 2.4MB. This is about 425 photos per GB.

Taking 1 photo per minute would take up 1GB in about 7 hours. This is a rate of about 144MB per hour or 3.3GB per day.

Bash script

You can create a Bash script which takes a picture with the camera. To create a script, open up your editor of choice and write the following example code:


DATE=$(date +"%Y-%m-%d_%H%M")

raspistill -vf -hf -o /home/pi/camera/$DATE.jpg

This script will take a picture and name the file with a timestamp.

You’ll also need to make sure the path exists by creating the camera folder:

mkdir camera

Say we saved it as, we would first make the file executable:

chmod +x

Then run with:


More options

For a full list of possible options, run raspistill with no arguments. To scroll, redirect stderr to stdout and pipe the output to less:

raspistill 2>&1 | less

Use the arrow keys to scroll and type q to exit.

Full documentation

Full documentation of the camera can be found at hardware/camera.