I just stumbled across a really worthwhile video entitled Composition Tips: How to Capture that ‘National Geographic Style’ featuring photographer Bob Holmes.
Some of the points Bob makes are:
- Know your equipment inside out so the camera doesn’t become a barrier.
- Develop and educate your eye through other visual media. Holmes has done it through a passionate interest in 20th century painting.
- Look for and capture a “punctuation” point—a critical detail that puts the image in proper context.
- Look for strong colors and geometry.
- The rules of photography—rule of thirds, golden mean, so on—will make pleasing looking photographs, but they’re very often boring. Try to “inject some excitement and interest into your photographs.”
- Be very aware of what’s in your whole frame, it’s your fault if there’s something in there that shouldn’t be.
- Become fully involved with your subject; give it 100% of your concentration.
- Put in the time. “You spend a long time just hanging around, waiting for the perfect shot.”
These will make more sense if you watch the video - which is only 10 minutes.