1. Get down on the child's level
This might sound so basic that you skim over it, but there are so many observations out there where educators stand over the child's play and take the photo. This results in an odd angle and the photo you end up with doesn't capture the child's emotions. The child could be so excited by the dinosaur they have just created out of playdough, however the educator has captured the table and the top of the child's head. Oops!
2. Be super stealth...
One of the keys to capturing an authentic moment is to be quiet and hidden in the background, therefore making the photo as natural as possible. Capturing the child when they are engaged in play can be tricky, however, if you are respectful of their play and quietly move towards the group or individual, you should be able to capture a photo where they are still fully engaged in the experience. It will interrupt a child's focus on their task if you are loudly hovering over their play or even worse, ask the child to stop for a photo. Ahh!
3. Lastly, remember that not all observations require a photo.
There will be observations where a work sample will be more authentic than a quick photo. Or where, as an educator, you were either be engaged in the play, or watching the child play and do not want to interrupt their play by taking a photo. A description of their play is perfect for this type of observation, including language such as conversations where you can. If the play continues over the next few days, there might be another opportunity for a photo which you can later add to your reflections and observation.
I hope these quick tips will be super helpful to keep in mind next time you are documenting a child's learning.