I have the camera module for the raspberry pi. I need to know, how do I program the pi to take an image every 30 seconds and save the images to the inserted 64gb SD card.

  • There are atleast 10 ways to do this if not 101 ways. Are you using the desktop? You want to write a script, program? raspicam has a timelapse feature and motion also but there are so many other ways. What have you tried?
    – Piotr Kula
    Commented Jan 28, 2016 at 20:11

2 Answers 2


You could just use the raspistill's built in timelapse option:

raspistill -t 30000 -tl 2000 -o image%04d.jpg

That will take a picture every 2 seconds over a total period of 30 seconds with the files named image1.jpg, image0002.jpg...image0015.jpg. The %04d will be changed into a four-digit number with leading zeros added. I.e. %08d would give you an eight-digit number.


One way is to create a bash script and cron job.

Create a bash script inside /home/pi directory using your favourite text editor and name it takephoto.sh for example.

DATE=$(date +"%Y-%m-%d_%H%M")
raspistill -o /home/pi/stills/$DATE.jpg

Then when you saved it you need to set the execute flag on the file with the following command.

chmod +x takephoto.sh

Create a directory, like /home/pi/stills, the same as in the bash script. Now from /home/pi you can test the script by executing it using ./takephoto.sh

You should have an image created inside the still folder with the timestamp.

Now you can setup a cron job to execute the script with the interval you require.

  • 1
    Thank you for the responses. This pi setup is going in a weather balloon to take images, saved to sd card. The pi will be powered by a lipo battery. I want to take the sd card out of the pi and upload them to my desktop.
    – Bra Nil
    Commented Jan 28, 2016 at 20:43
  • 1
    crons minimum resolution is 1 minute so probably simplest to just have a sleep(30) and loop the script continuously.
    – joan
    Commented Jan 28, 2016 at 22:07

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