In most cases, a photograph comes to life when it contains one main point of interest. A landscape, for example, may contain a single tree, beautifully lit, that stands out from its surroundings. When you have decided on your main object, there are a number of digital photography tricks you can use to put it into prominence.
By 'tricks', it is not a reference to alteration using Photoshop, or a similar tool. It means that choosing your viewpoint and composition thoughtfully and carefully, which when shot will greatly enhance the power of your image. For a better photographing experience, William Schoellkopf has compiled three effective ideas to focus on:
Typically, digital photography beginners will seek out a central position in the frame in which to place their main object. This may work well in certain circumstances, such as a conventional head and shoulders portrait. However, when used exclusively, this type of composition can become boring. Photography works well when we borrow from an old artists' trick, and place our main object on an intersection, known as the 'rule of thirds'.
Lines are created in an image wherever distinct or long lines occur between colors and tones. This needs not be just one element, but can be a whole series i.e. roads and trees, clouds or shadows, which together form one strong linear element. When these lines radiate from, or converge to, your main object, these can create clearly dramatic lead-in effects. If your main object is a cottage in the distance, and a distinct road lined with trees lead the viewer's eyes straight to it, this can be more pleasing than the same cottage pictured from another viewpoint that does not contain these elements.
Making your main object the lightest or darkest element of the picture (or even the only element containing a certain color) will make it stand out strongly. This also helps emphasize shape and set a mood.
These are just a few digital photography tricks suggested by William Schoellkopf that can help your main object stand out, and comfortably lead your viewer where you want them to go. Remember to try hard to capture the image you want in the frame as you take it, so that any subsequent Photoshop work is used with subtlety to enhance, rather than repair your photograph.