Python picamera

python-picamera is a pure Python interface to the Raspberry Pi camera module for Python 2.7 (or above) or Python 3.2 (or above). The library is written and maintained by Dave Jones.

Also see the camera setup page.

Enable the camera

Run sudo raspi-config and choose in the menu to enable the pi camera. A reboot is needed after this.


The python-picamera library is available in the Raspbian archives. Install with apt:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install python-picamera

Alternatively, the Python3 package is installed with sudo apt-get install python3-picamera. An offline version of the documentation is available with sudo apt-get install python-picamera-docs.


First, at the Python prompt or at the top of a Python script, enter:

import picamera

This will make the library available to the script. Now create an instance of the PiCamera class:

camera = picamera.PiCamera()

And take a picture:


Horizontal and Vertical flip

Like with the raspistill command, you can apply a horizontal and vertical flip if your camera is positioned upside-down. This is done by changing the hflip and vflip properties directly:

camera.hflip = True
camera.vflip = True

Be sure to use an upper case T in True as this is a keyword in Python.


You can display a preview showing the camera feed on screen. Warning: this will overlay your Python session by default; if you have trouble stopping the preview, simply pressing Ctrl+D to terminate the Python session is usually enough to restore the display:


You can use the stop_preview method to remove the preview overlay and restore the display:


Alternatively, you can access the Pi using SSH from another computer, open a Python prompt and enter these commands, displaying the preview on the monitor connected to the Pi (not the computer you're connected from).

Camera settings

You can change other camera configuration by editing property values, for example:

camera.brightness = 70

This will change the brightness setting from its default 50 to 70 (values between 0 and 100).

Other settings are available. Here is a list with their default values:

camera.sharpness = 0
camera.contrast = 0
camera.brightness = 50
camera.saturation = 0
camera.ISO = 0
camera.video_stabilization = False
camera.exposure_compensation = 0
camera.exposure_mode = 'auto'
camera.meter_mode = 'average'
camera.awb_mode = 'auto'
camera.image_effect = 'none'
camera.color_effects = None
camera.rotation = 0
camera.hflip = False
camera.vflip = False
camera.crop = (0.0, 0.0, 1.0, 1.0)


You can add pauses between commands using sleep from the time module:

import picamera
from time import sleep

camera = picamera.PiCamera()


You can also use sleep in a preview to adjust settings over time:


for i in range(100):
    camera.brightness = i

Video recording

Record 5 seconds of video:



Full documentation for python-picamera is available at


The python-picamera project is written and maintained by Dave Jones and the source can be found at where you can open issues or contribute to the project.