How you use negative space, shadow vs highlights, textures impact the final product. How it all balances to create tension or relaxation are in the photographers control. Ansel Adams took balancing those items and by manipulating first in the camera, then later in the printing process adjusted how the elements within the final image he shared with us.
The subject matter often gives you ways to "frame" it with the elements around it. On a walk through the forest its the dark shadows that make the brighter elements stand out more. Contrasting texture in nature is there to help frame as well...rough edges of a stream bed vs the soft curves of the water tumbled rocks, the soft waves of grass in a field against jagged peaks in the hills on the horizon. In our cities its the hard edges of the building framing off a garden or contrasting with the flowing curves of the clouds above. So many ways to bring visual excitement to the viewer.
Of course its this excitement to the brain that brings the viewer into your image. My exploration of man vs nature continues. Elements of man framing those of nature, man's tension added to nature, the largesse of one against the other. It is all about how you compose that makes the image work and what element becomes the star.
A couple from the Santa Monica Pier exploring the relationships with different approaches to composition. First is "Watchers" which explores the steady hard edges of manmade elements against the flowing energy of the waves and weathered wood. The other is "Pier Shops" which explores the color and texture of some elements against a flawless blue sky. In the latter the natural elements add texture even though the construction created hard edges. One is an example of relaxed composition, the other of an energetic composition. Both work just for different reasons.