Get down to the level of your subject. If you are photographing pets or kids, shoot from their eye level. This is also true if you are tall and shooting a shorter person, photograph him or her from the subjects eye level, unless intentionally done otherwise. Generally a top angle is used to show the subject as inferior, week or poor.
Don’t always keep your subject right in the center. your focusing point is in the center and you just release the shutter after focusing. don’t just focus and shoot. rather recompose after focusing without lifting your finger from the shutter release button. Your focus will be locked and you will be able to keep the subject on the side or elsewhere as required by the composition.(Rule of thirds) Also do not leave too much space on top of the subject.
Communicate with your subject. Do not hesitate to direct your shots. Make an effort to change the composition that is the arrangement of elements within the frame to your taste and style. Sometimes, as little as, asking your subject step back slightly or move a little bit helps in creating a much better composition. You may also try to change your viewpoint if shifting the elements of the picture is not possible. The composition should be such that it does highlight the main subject and convey what you are trying to say through the picture. Be in command and direct to make changes in the positioning or expressions to add to the desired mood in the photograph. Make efforts to create the shot rather than just taking the picture.
Change your angle, move around, move up or down to exclude unwanted elements in the background or to include certain areas in the photograph.. Explore the right angle. There is no right angle for the shot although the eye level may work in many situations. Try and check out what camera angle works best for you and for your subject.
Don’t just shoot horizontally always. Make an effort to hold the camera vertically and take some shots. generally beginners just start to shoot without realising that they have an option of holding the camera vertically as well. Photographers generally on a very sub conscious level will make a very quick decision in their minds if the subject is justified by a vertical or horizontal framing. many a times they may shoot the same subject both horizontally as well as vertically for a better selection later on.
Avoid the clutter behind. If the background is too distracting avoid it by changing the viewpoint or the location.
Isolate, what is important. sometimes, it may just not be possible to avoid a distracting background. Make sure that you keep it well out of focus by opting for a shallow depth of field and a long lens. even otherwise a long lens may be sued to isolate the main subject from the background.
Strong lines lead our eye to what we want to see in the picture. It may be roads, trees, walls, shadows or any other elements which me lead our eye to the main subject and add a mommetum to the photograph.
Add dimension to you pictures by including more planes, i.e the subject could be frames through an interesting foreground.
Leave more space in front of the subject if it is moving. Ideally the subject should not move out of the frame, this in fact leads the eye of the viewer out of the frame and is not retained within the photograph.
The right balance. Overall visually the picture should look balanced. Balance may be achieved with shapes, densities, or colours. One colour may be present in abundance but a stronger colour in small area may balance it.
Break the rules but only after you have learnt to follow the rules. Rules work in most of the situations but as you develop an eye for visuals and compositions you are able to decide in those split seconds if you are better off breaking the rule or going by the rule.