I prefer uncluttered images that have no distractions to interfere with the chosen subject, getting in close & a careful choice of viewpoint helps to achieve this. In composing images in the viewfinder note is taken of potential distractions, particularly near the edges of the frame, & where possible the viewpoint may be shifted to avoid these. Use is made of the cloning tool to eliminate unwanted elements that have been missed or were impossible to avoid. While the Rule of Thirds is never forefront in my mind when composing a subject it is no surprise that the majority of my images tend to adhere to this rule. There have been many explanations of why the majority of art images display the rule in their composition & there is an excellent article to be found in the back copies of Camera Clips by James Allan who gives a detailed explanation of the mathematics that apply to this rule. I believe that the principle which can generally be applied to composition is that if the result looks good & feels good then it is good. After all, rules were made for the guidance of wise men!
When presenting an image for screen viewing a border is often helpful in providing a frame to offset the image. Generally I prefer these to be a single narrow line in a colour which is complimentary to the main colour in the image, a shade or two lighter or darker than the dominant colour usually works best. Borders are applied in Photoshop during the final stages of the work flow before any sharpening is applied. When a more elaborate frame is desired I frequently use the border presets that are available in Fast Stone. These may sometimes be regarded as an integral part of an image as in the example where vignetting and a heavy border add to the feeling of antiquity.