I’ve usually seen composition taught as a set of principles based on geometry or colour to describe the structure of a picture. Apparently the rule of thirds will make better pictures, so will S bends or diagonals, I think these are nice simplifications but I’d prefer to go deeper and ask ‘why?’
Rather than ‘telling’ how a composition works (or doesn’t), here are some inward thinking words to invite exploration and discovery in compositions.
I’ll let you ponder these words for yourself, one at a time. Maybe you can consider these concepts as you assess your images, or images you admire.
I’ve left out words like ‘light’ because it’s visible.
I’m sure more could be added, ‘Story’ comes to mind but somehow I just don’t think it fits within the idea of composition and can be covered sufficiently by ‘essence’.
* I’m sure there’s a more fitting word than hierarchy that I can’t think of right now, this could be replaced with ‘Order of importance’.
* Here I’m referring to the way you fit into the image, do you feel like you fit within the image or are you distant, and how does this affect the way you relate to it?