These are just a few slides from my Composition & Layout class that I wanted to share. The main idea behind these is that when you're studying a well composed image or want to make one yourself, there are a few key principles that must be in effect in order for it to be compelling. Please note that these are NOT my layouts but those of amazing artists whose work I found online or scanned from books I own and I show them here ONLY for the purposes of instruction.
It all comes down to what your FOCAL POINT is and where you want to place that in the frame of your image. After that, it's a delicate and artful balance of how you break up the SPACE further and place the elements of your image in a way that they create DEPTH and RHYTHM that help to lead the viewer through the image.
I recommend doing some analyses on some of your favorite images and hopefully you'll see that there's more at work in the image than what you originally thought.