Photography literally means “the process of drawing with light” – it’s not “taking pictures of people or things,” it’s all about playing with light. If the light isn’t there, there’s no photograph. If the light is boring, the photograph is boring. But, if the light is right, even the most boring subject is transformed into something magical.
Much of the time, when I jump to grab my camera, it’s because the light has caught my eye. Warm light coming through a window. Light refracting through glass. Reflecting off of a surface. Sometimes it’s just a property of the light that catches my attention – warmth, softness, darkness, harshness.
Shoot the light. Start with the light, then find the subject or story, and work on angles and composition.
It’s not an absolute, and I’ve got plenty of counter-example photos that work despite the light, but it’s a pretty good starting point to find the light, and a photograph will follow.