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

Basic usage of raspistill

With a 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 and 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 camera.sh, we would first make the file executable:

chmod +x camera.sh

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.