I have used a cheap waterproof phone case to take underwater pictures (and video!) when snorkeling in Hawaii, the Maldives, and Japan! (Pictures below are from all 3 places.)
This is more like a soft case pouch that you slide your phone into, and then you close it off to keep the water out. It’s not an exact fit to your phone like better quality $$$ phone cases specific to your phone type would be.
It has been called a waterproof phone case, waterproof phone pouch, and a cell phone dry bag.
If you’re not picky and incredibly technical about your picture quality, and you can make some compromises (like the way you take a picture), then you will likely be quite happy with this CHEAP option of making your phone into an underwater camera!
Pictures below were taken with phone while in a cheapo waterproof phone case.
You are making your phone into an underwater camera for snorkeling!
Actual picture quality will be better for you since these pictures below have been formatted for the web! (aka they are reduced quality for web.)
In any case, notice the clarity!
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This is the waterproof phone pouch aka cell phone dry bag that I bought: JOTO waterproof phone case
There are a few important things to know about getting a cheap waterproof phone pouch
1. It IS a CHEAP waterproof phone case!
So, keep your expectations in check! Of course, getting a real $$$ underwater camera will offer you better quality, and a much better convenience for taking pictures.
2. It might take you a few times to perfect your underwater picture taking skills with a waterproof phone case.
The touch screen doesn’t really work underwater.
Instead, you will find a button to click in order to snap the picture. For me, it was the volume button located on the side of the phone.
You’ll need to work out the best way to take the picture while also being able to click that button on the side.
After a few tries, this really won’t be much of a problem, but you may not get it on your first try.
3. To take underwater video, you’ll want to start the video while you are above water.
Since touch screen doesn’t work underwater, it will be best to start the video above water and then take your phone underwater.
4. Just keep clicking!
The little fishies are always swimming. 🐠
They are not going to stay still so you can get a perfect picture of them.
So if you see something you like, just hold your phone in the general direction, start clicking, and hope for the best! 😆 Well that’s what I did anyway! 😜
5. When you take video, try to stay still and let the fish swim by you!
I was a complete amateur underwater video taker and I basically kept trying to follow the fish around. This makes for an incredibly shaky video. (On top of that I had an old phone that didn’t stabilize video well!)
6. You may be stressing about losing your phone in the vast ocean.
Well, the thing about taking your phone out into the ocean is that you can accidentally drop it! So if you accidentally let go of your cheapo phone case, your phone could be gone too! This may lead to an unnecessary stressful snorkeling experience.
7. Because it’s a soft case, you’ll want to be careful about how you pack it.
Being a soft case means that it’s easy for the phone pouch to get bent up. So ideally you won’t want to just shove it in your beach bag. Placing it in a book, magazine, or notebook can help to keep it straight.
8. Test it out at home before you use for real!
It will be a good idea to test the waterproof phone pouch at home like in your sink or bathtub, just in case!
ALL THAT SAID…
If you can work with all these things, then…
Find your cheap waterproof phone case for snorkeling!
There are many cheap waterproof phone cases on Amazon.
Once again, this is the one I bought: JOTO waterproof phone case
👆 This is the JOTO waterproof phone case. You can buy the camera float separately. More on why you might want that below.
I actually bought it twice because I thought I had lost my first one, and I replaced it with the same phone pouch since I was happy with how it worked!
If you have a bigger phone, be sure to check that your phone size will fit.
Depending on what color phone pouch you choose, there’s a $1-2 difference.
Turn your phone into a makeshift floating underwater camera
If you are afraid of letting go of your phone in the water, then also consider getting a float attachment.
I also had a camera float attached to the phone pouch. I tested it, and it DID float in the water even with my phone attached to it.
See the camera float: Nordic Flash waterproof camera float
The camera float also made it easier to keep in my backpack too. This Osprey daypack has a hydration sleeve, and I could lay the phone case flat in that part. The camera float made it so it would stay up top and straight, instead of all bent up in the bottom of the backpack.
And that’s a bit about using a cheap waterproof phone pouch to take underwater pictures while snorkeling!
And then you can take a look at getting a real underwater camera:
More for your snorkeling trip:
Headed to Hawaii?!
See more packing tips!
Snorkeling spots in Hawaii:
HAPPY TAKING UNDERWATER PICTURES WITH YOUR PHONE CAMERA!
Top things to pack for your Hawaii vacation!
The ultimate beach towel for travel?!Turkish towels are considered to be more absorbent and lightweight than your average beach towel. Be sure to check out turkish towels like these!
The cheapo way to waterproof your phoneYou can take underwater pictures with a simple waterproof phone case like this. Touch screen may not work well underwater - try the volume button to snap the pic instead!
Wear less sunscreen by wearing a UPF swim shirt!Wearing a swim shirt means less skin that's exposed to the sun which means less sunscreen you need to apply! See about wearing swim shirts with UV protection like these when you're snorkeling.
For a Hawaii experience you are sure to remember, get out on the open water to sail the ocean!Look for the reviews!
- OAHU: Take a look at a morning sailing trip like this one that includes snorkeling and sailing with the iconic Waikiki skyline as your backdrop. (It comes with a good chance that you'll be swimming with turtles!)
- MAUI: Take a look at a catamaran cruise like this one from West Maui to the coast of Lanai that can include snorkeling, seeing the West Maui Mountains and Lanai cliffs from the boat, and maybe even seeing some turtles and dolphins!
- BIG ISLAND: Take a look at a catamaran cruise like this one off the Kona coast for the chance to swim with manta rays at night. (One of THE most popular types of tours in Kona!) Or for a daytime boat ride, take a look at a sailing trip like this one off the Kona coast to go snorkeling at one of the best snorkeling spots on the Big Island.
- KAUAI: Take a look at a catamaran sunset sailing trip like this one along the famous Na Pali coast.