There is one rule, however, that is not talked about or used nearly enough, and that is the rule of simplicity. Keep it simple. This is one rule that is worth its weight in gold.
The rule of simplicity is, well, simple: refine your composition until you've reached the minimum that you can include to convey your point. Or, put even more simply, less is more.
Photography is a form of nonverbal communication. Often, people try to say too much and use too little punctuation in their images. A run-on sentence is not clear. A paragraph with multiple ideas is not clear. Most photographs are not clear because they are not kept simple.
The best way to simplify an image is to extract. Remove everything that is unnecessary from the composition. Get in closer. Get rid of distractions. Make the point of the photograph obvious.
Whatever it is that your image is about, make sure that the viewer can quickly figure it out. People won't spend but a second or two looking at your photograph. If it's confusing or not immediately clear, the viewer will move on to the next image.
Below are some examples of the rule of simplicity.
|Curves - Tehachapi, California|
|Light From Above - Rosamond, California|
|Cluster of Roses - Tehachapi, California|
|Abandoned Bathroom - Rosamond, California|
|Rusted Bolt - Loraine, California|
|On A Brighter Day - Tehachapi, California|
|One Yellow Board - Lancaster, California|
|Motorcycle Engine - Tehachapi, California|
|Surfers - Avila Beach, California|
|Old Chimney - Loraine, California|
|Sailboat Race - Oxnard, California|
|1955 Chevy Pickup - Stallion Springs, California|