There is no recipe for good layout, what must be maintained is a feeling of change and contrast. A layout man should be simple with good photographs. He should perform acrobatics when the pictures are bad.
What is of value is that a particular photographer sees the subject differently than I do. A good picture must be a completely individual expression which intrigues the viewer and forces him to think.
Photographers should make three or four prints from one negative and then crop them differently. When I was art director at Harper's Bazaar and at several agencies as a consultant, young photographers would bring me their portfolios and all the prints would be in the same standard proportions, either for the Leica or the Rolleiflex. Many times, by limiting themselves in this way, they missed the true potentialities of their photographs.
Surprise quality can be achieved in many ways. It may be produced by a certain stimulating geometrical relationship between elements in the picture or through the human interest of the situation photographed or by calling our attention to some commonplace but fascinating thing we have never noticed before or it can be achieved by looking at an everyday thing in a new interesting way.
When the novice photographer starts taking pictures, he carries his camera about and shoots everything that interests him. There comes a time when he must crystallize his ideas and set off in an particular direction. He must learn that shooting for the sake of shooting is dull and unprofitable.