In my opinion, the goal of shooting to fit a standard mat aspect ratio will, most of the time, mean that you will be including or excluding picture elements that will alter the narrative of the photo. I would never approach it that way. For me, each photograph has a unique aspect ratio. What is included in the photo are those elements that: 1) contribute to the "story line" and 2) formally relate the overall composition to the edges of the image. Sometimes it matches the film/sensor aspect ratio, mostly it doesn't. I neither celebrate full frame capture nor despair when I have to crop. In fact, cropping is my way of being definitive about what I want included. For me, "full-framing" and your "standard ratio" approach compromises a critical set of choices.
Now, what do I mean by narrative? Simply put, it's your sense of what the photo is "about". Take your lighthouse photo. Ask yourself if the photo is "about" the unusual (and eye-grabbing) tree shapes on the left edge, or the lumpy shape (rock, island?) out in the water. How much is it about the sky, or the grass in the foreground? Unless there is something significant about the surrounding context (like showing how isolated something is or how ironic it is to find it in an environment that somehow contradicts it) it is frequently important to move in on your subject. Go closer [click], closer still [click], keep going ..... [click]
BTW, I never use mats and dislike them intensely, not just because they are a pain and expensive, but because, for me, they have a pretentious air about them - a cheap way of trying to say "this is Art". I print with generous white borders and frame them simply with no mats. I know that my position on mats is idiosyncratic. I like it that way.
Russel, I like what you said as it follows a nice progression of logical reasoning. All of it I agree with. My question about not using mats, which I think is intriguing and utilitarian too, is how do you get a visually agreeable border around oddly cropped images? It would seem that with some of your images, you would be have more border on the top than the bottom or larger bottom and top borders and then smaller side borders, which I think is disagreeable, at least to my eye. The reason for this is that we all have to work with standardized frame sizes, unless you order and build nonstandard frames to fit the borders that each of your images has--but that would be a lot of expense too.
I do really like the idea of being able to create my own borders and forget about matting all together. That would be just dandy for sure.
You are right about the lighthouse also. Lots of forground grass, tehn teh bushes on the left, and then the horizon with water and rocks in the front. I seee all of that also, but there was one issue I had when I shot that. The main thing was that I was getting "tilt" in the tower at any closer focal or real distance to the tower--lol. You know what I mean as with any tall structure, the closer you get, the more you have to tilt the camera backwards, which makes the object seem like it is falling backwards from the bottom to the top. There wasn't any higher ground I could have climbed on either at that location. For future instances like that, what do you or others suggest?