I recently came across this article which i believe summarizes the points involved pretty well.
The following is a list of basic judging and critiquing criteria for photographs, compiled by George Kalem III, Manchester, New Hampshire. The items are given in descending order of importance.
Creativity - use of imagination; freshness of approach; unusual cropping/use of subject matter; invention, design, feeling and imagination that lifts the work into the realm of art; could be abstract.
Style - part that sets the work apart from others; different but consistent way of seeing; different approach; real, not contrived; experimental; individual.
Composition - good placement of subject; successful arrangement; harmonious proportions; use dynamic symmetry in placing the most important objects; good rhythm in repetition; color, spaces, moods, divisions of photograph.
Print Presentation - does presentation enhance the photograph?; good cropping; good color for matting or mounting; using something dynamic or very traditional; creative mounting.
Color Balance - good technique; good selection of color for subject matter; using very interpretive color (maybe not normal); creative use of color (complementary colors, dark against light, strong against weak)
Center of Interest - dominance of subject matter; grouping of subject and arrangement of objects so one center of interest prevails, subject hold the eye without distractions; mood or misty; strength and definition gives center of interest; secondary subjects don't overpower main subject.
Lighting - good statement of light; good portrait lighting; dynamic lighting pattern of light can enhance, create strong mood.
Subject Matter - outstanding interpretation for the subject matter; good camera angle; good selection of photographic model or object; contrast can be very creative in selection (old and young, warm and cold).
Print Quality - strong contrast; middle tones; good color balance; expressions and artistic lighting; simple statements are strongest; good angle on buildings; backgrounds in harmony with subject matter.
Technique - different technique for subject matter; technique is foundation of photography but knowledge of art principles are very necessary; using creativity and abstraction can help; design brings abstract ideas into concrete form.
Story Telling - complete story within photograph; successful presentation; achievement of purpose; complete meeting at first glance; strong mood or emotion using strong complementary colors next to each other; strong mood builds emotional response challenging your imagination.
Thats a long post! But definitely worth pondering over when I try to look for images that satisfy these criteria. Do let me know what you think.