Little things can make a big difference in whether an image “works” or not. Take this very simple silhouette image of snow geese in flight.
I like to think in terms of “odd” vs. “evens”. Odd numbers of things tend to add some tension and creates layers and lines and triangles, Even numbers of things can just split the frame and make the image a little lifeless. That is not an inviolable “rule”, just a general guideline for me.
Here I see three subjects – birds, sky and mountain. And I see three layers of color separated in layers, moving upward from dark blacks to the warm oranges to the cool blues. The image would not work as well for me if it was all vibrant oranges and black mountain. These are just little things, but I think they add up and make the image stronger.
Snow geese in flight at sunrise, Bosque del Apache, National Wildlife Refuge, New Mexico, USA. Canon 1Dx. Canon 200-400mm lens at 400mm. ISO 3200. f/4.5 @ 1/500 second.