After concept (What is this image about? What do I want to say? Why am I moved by this?),
composition (or 'design') is the most important thing on the list of 7
(concept, compo, drawing, values (tones), edges, brushwork, color)(not all relevant to photog).
are some basic rules (eg don't center the subject, pay attention to the
corners of the image space, beware of cutting things off at the wrong
point, etc. (listed in most books about compostion). - that should
become pretty much second nature),
and the idea of dividing the
picture space into thirds and siting important things on one of those
intersections, etc. (again, listed in most books on composition - I
should think most photography manuals have a good section on
this/composition in general).
BUT, the real big things are:
to have interesting shapes arranged in an interesting way (and most
usually avoid repetition/repetitive elements unless you're SURE you want
and, ABOVE ALL,
2) consider the light/dark pattern (in Japanese the 'NOTAN').
and photography are above all studies of light... ...and there are no
'rules' - they are only the struts on the launch ramp! guidelines maybe?
in fact, means that the important aspect of a representational image is
the abstract aspect - all images are abstract art!!!