I've been learning about photography the last few years. Inevitably, when the question arises about how to make a good photograph, the concept of simplicity comes up. One person said a good photographer is someone who knows when to stop eliminating from the scene and leave only what is essential.
Yeah, right - what is essential? It's easy to say but hard to define. But I have a hunch about this. Rather than focus on the photo itself or the actual elements in the photo, step above it for a minute and go to the story. As you look throught he viewfinder or progress through your post processing, try to find the beginnings of a story. If you take out everything but the tree and the bench do you feel something? Is the story open-ended enough that someone could quickly immerse themselves into it? When you look for the story and the emotions that follow, you may even find yourself adding something to strengthen it.
For me, the visual elements are just the portal into the story, which in turn brings the emotion. And in the end, art is about emotion.
This is "Big Ben", a huge horse in Sugarcreek, OH. They say he's one of the largest in the area. I had a photo of his entire body, but felt like this crop told more of the story about him.