I've read What and how to crop? & yes, I really do understand the theory - even if it boils down to pick an aspect you like & emphasise it.
I don't want this to be a "which one do you like best?" question, but I'm struggling to decide when I've found the right crop to provide the most satisfying composition.
These are all just screenshots to try illustrate my point. Quality is suspect, but unimportant to the question.
I started with a sunflower, then faked in a huge amount of background, just so I could play around with the crop. The original is some 40 MP.
I've shown each crop attempt with the guides, so you can see what I was 'thinking' for each one.
I hope the question overall isn't too much like 'stream of consciousness'.
All images shrunk to not fill the page up too much. Larger sizes on right-click, open in new tab.
Because it's facing left, my instinct is to set it to the right, so it's looking into frame.
This looks 'wrong' to me...
So, having eliminated that, I pushed it to the other side, left most of it in-frame & moved the right-hand 'line' of petals towards the ⅔ line.
OK - looks fair, but is it 'right' or is it 'too safe' ?
Push it a bit further & line up the flower centre more towards the ⅔ line.
Balance looks wrong.
OK, forget rule of thirds & let's have a look at a golden spiral...
It's dramatic, but once I remove the spiral overlay, will anyone understand what I was doing, or does it just look like it's falling out of the bottom of the frame?
Drop that idea & back to rule of thirds - staying tight...
I like it, but do I like it more than the 'safe' option?
What about a portrait crop, with a bit more breathing-room?
At this point I threw up my hands in despair.
How do I know when to stop?
Have I simply hit the point where science gives way to art & no-one can decide except me?