There’s more than one way to do everything
Sure, there are plenty of “rules” in graphic design. But, those rules are about the same importance as the rules of dating. Dress nice, smell good, act confident. But, that by no means, is a definitive list. If you asked 200 “dating experts”, or just guys and gals with game, they’d likely all say some version of those 3 things. However, if you observe them all on a night out, their behavior would certainly vary, and be unique in many ways. Same goes for design.
Yes, there are certain universal techniques to editing a photograph, or standard ways of kerning type and typical methods for creating a colour palette. But, that doesn’t mean the way you’re currently doing any of these things is wrong. The only real universal rule in design and concept development is, in the end, be clear. How you get to clarity …that’s up to you.
“Oh, hey – you didn’t use the rule of 5ths. Interesting.” Or, “What, you don’t desaturate all your images? Hmmm, that’s different.”
Don’t get too hung up on every rule you’ve ever heard of. Be clear, and make sure your design, concept, copywriting, whatever, communicates the message. Do only that, and you nailed it. The other stuff will come with time and experience. The best approach is to incorporate a new design rule, or method, into your repertoire one at a time, as you discover them. When you learn the rule of 3rds and 5ths, start trying it out until you’re comfortable with it. Then move on to proper image cropping, etc.
Every layout you’ve done to this point is valid. Don’t sweat it. They were all necessary to get you where you are, today. You’re doing it right.