Good Photo Composition Clearly Identifies Your Subject

I recently did a shoot at Bean Hollow State Beach, a little south of Half Moon Bay in the San Francisco Bay Area. As I walked around the rocks, framing up various compositions, I noticed I was pointing my camera downward more. Why? To get a strong composition.

Here's two photos taken from the same location just moments apart.

Weak composition, the frame is torn between the sky and the surf.

This composition delivers less impact. There's no clear subject. Is it the sky? The ocean? The eye struggles, unguided in the frame.

Strong composition, the surf and rocks are the clear subject

This composition is strong. The subject is clearly the incoming surf and the foreground rocks.

I angled my camera downward for the strong composition. Know your subject, and a strong composition will follow.