As my photography has “matured,” I would say that one of the biggest differences is that I spend considerably more time looking for lines, shapes and patterns when I look through the viewfinder. I guess I like symmetry and these fern leaves seem to have plenty of that. Plus, there are at least four layers of lines in this photo, each less distinct. Among other things, it gives the two dimensional digital file you are looking at the illusion of depth.
Another thing I spend more time with is using the right lens, focus and aperture to manipulate what the viewer will see. In this case, I used a telephoto lens and a medium aperture to make the top right corner blurred and the bottom left quadrant fairly sharp. In the end, I like this blurry upper part of the photo because it looks a bit like a vortex from which the central leaf is rising.
Do I really think this much when I take a photo? Not really. The kind of analysis you are reading today usually occurs much later – when I am “thinking” about what I was seeing when I took the photo.
Canon 5DII 1/60s f/5.6 ISO400 102mm