A photographer (from Greekφωτός (photos), meaning "light", and γράφω (graphos), meaning "written") is a person who takes photographs So, according to that, we are supposed to tell a story and do it with light. Sounds easy enough I suppose. So why are there so many bad photographs out there? I'm thinking it's because anyone can pick up a camera, and some even read the manual and know how to set the dials on something other than automatic.
The difference between a wonderful photo and a lack luster photo is almost always the difference between light and dark. Contrast. Sometimes a LOT of contrast and sometimes a little. This depends on the story you are wanting to tell...the feeling you want to leave people with when they look at the photo.
Have you ever wondered why everyone seems to love black and white photos? It's simple really. There are a couple main things I can think of, at least for me. First, I tend to focus on what the photo is about and not so much about the colors. Colors can distract from the emotion of the subject. It can be easier to tell a story. Second, and more to my point, is that with Black and White you have to have contrast. You can't have a flat photo...it doesn't work in B&W.
I'm not saying you can't do the same thing with a color photo. But make sure you are doing your job as an artist and make sure you are, indeed, writing a story with light. (and dark)