The rule of simplification is as straight forward as its name implies. It states that simple images are more pleasing to the eye. If you crowd your frame what you are actually doing is taking focus away from your main subject and potentially confusing your viewer with regards to what you are actually trying to portray. This rule in combination with the rule of thirds or the golden ratio can often combine for very striking images. Remember, the goal is to create a photograph not a snapshot. You want to capture a moment, a feeling or a story. Having too many random elements in a frame will dilute the contents of your story, dull the feeling and blur the moment (I don’t mean in a visually pleasing way with bokeh :P).
Next time you are out and about shooting and you find an interesting subject, remember how you want to present that subject in your frame. Look around, are there any elements around it that detract from its importance? Can you omit these unwanted elements by moving to a different angle or changing your depth of field to blur them into the background? If not, frame the shot in such a way that will enable you to crop them out in post processing without taking away from your main subject.
Below you will see the shell of a nut. I really liked the texture and sharpness of its needles so I wanted the photo to remind me of what it felt like when I picked it up. This particular subject was obviously small and easy to re-position however, the background was still uninteresting and added no value to the subject so I blurred it out. Had I left it on the ground surrounded by leaves, grass, twigs, stones and other shells which were worse for wear, it would have been a lot more difficult to pick out what exactly it was I was trying to photograph.
Thank you for reading!