Ever wonder what it is about some photos that make them look so much better than others? It doesn't matter if you are using a cell phone or a DSLR with a massive lens. Composition will make or break your photos.
I won't bore you with all of the rules. It takes years to learn all of them, if you ever can, I learn more every day, and the rules have a tendency to change or get broken a lot. So I'll just cover three of the most basic that can make a huge difference in your photos right away.
The Rule of Thirds
Picture in your mind, two vertical and two horizontal lines going across your image. This will break your image up into nine squares.
Place your most important element near one of the intersecting lines. This creates a more pleasing composition and looks more natural to the eye than placing your subject in the middle of the frame.
Leading lines are just what they sound like. They are lines (like the rock pillars above) that lead to your subject or awayfrom your subject off the image. It's all about creating interest to your eyes.
The third thing to pay attention to is your background. When I took this picture (above) of my daughter, a foot to the left or a foot to the right and you would have seen a bunch of ugly tarps in the background. I could crop it or clone it out in Photoshop, but it's much easier to just get it right in the camera to begin with by repositioning myself before I take the shot.
This is a great place to start when looking to improve your photos. The rule of thirds and watching what's in your background should be a part of every shot you take. Those two alone make a huge difference in any shot. Then keep your eye out for opportunities to use leading lines. They're fun to play with and add a lot of interest.