Basics of composition in my mind is the focus point is #1
I LOVE A GOOD FOCUS POINT!
Image two has the focus point in the front more and it has a leading diagonal line that almost looks like it is pointing out the main focus point.
I like to have my focus subject take up a large portion closer of the image. This helps us to know that is the important part of the image unlike the image below where you don't know what is supposed to be our focus. This is not always true as in a landscape image. You can chose a focus point almost anywhere when you are using a SLR camera. with a point and shoot camera it will be harder to choose the focus point. Cell phones and tablets will let you change the focus point check the settings in your owners manual or You Tube search it :).
#2 is a close second Exposure is Key
You want to see the Focus point at the correct exposure. If you can get this close it will save you a lot of extra time in the editing phase. You can see how the smaller image is much more appealing to the eye as you don't have to strain to see what the image is of because it is too dark.
# 3 is non other than the rule of thirds(this is less of a must do in an image)
In Photography you hear about the rule of thirds a lot this is another great thing to watch for it doesn't mean you have to have it perfect in your images but it does make it much more appealing to the eye if you use the rule of thirds. The below image shows how we brake down the rule of thirds into 9 areas in the view finder. I try to get the focus point of an image on one of these lines or the intersections. When you put the main subject at one of those points we say that you have used the rule of thirds.