In photography almost always, less is more. The fewer elements in a photo, the clearer the story and the more impact your photo will have.
Songwriters tell powerful emotive stories with very few words. Imagine if they were rambling on “and then this happened and then that and blah blah blah…………” They use as few words as possible to tell the story, yet how often do we feel the emotion of the lyrics.
It’s the same with landscape photography; we should only include the elements that directly help to tell the story we are trying to communicate.
A good practice is, once you have framed up your composition, take a look at each element within the frame and ask yourself is this directly helping to tell the story that I am trying to tell, or is it a distraction from the story? If it’s a distraction, reconsider your framing to try and exclude all distractions.
If you can’t frame it out in camera, consider removing it in Photoshop.
I have used Photoshop in the example below to remove the landmass in the distance, simplifying the image and in my opinion making a stronger photo. The Island had a real feel of isolation and by removing the distant landmass, the story of isolation is much clearer.
Feel free to email me at email@example.com if you have any questions