These layout suggestion and layout re-do's were done as a part of Course 1, Lesson 8A, on Visual Weight. I invite you to be brave and participate by senidng me a layout. It is how I learned to grow in skills, with others giving me suggestions.
1. contrast - The dark swimgear in the photos do help the eye go to the people in the photos, which is in contrast to the aqua in the rest of the layout and the rest of the photos, so that is a good thing. I can read your text okay.
2. size - okay
3. color - okay -- you mention that you are not sure about the colors, but a monochromatic color scheme always works as it is less busy and distracting to the eye.
4. shape - Flower shape of the tag has visual weight, but it's size keeps in in check.
5. texture - there is actual texture in the waves of the water and that helps to bring the eye to the photos.
6. isolation - not applicable.
7. value - not applicable.
8. balance - This could use some work. I can see where you are trying to be balanced, but it may take some time to develop an eye for better balance. For the most part, the layout is "even" from the top to the bottom, but bottom heavy layouts look better. Making everything smaller and move it down a tad so as to leave empty "white space" at the top would be all that you would need to do. The title on the tag at the top is very heavy feeling too. My eye almost goes there first and gets stuck. It was less of a problem on the first layout without the tag, but I do like the tag. It would just need to be made smaller and moved down on the page.
You mention that two photos are similar...they do look like the same photo to me. My suggestion with this is that usually you want one focal photo and two supporting photos (rule of thirds) and that the two supporting photos would be smaller. You could crop one of the similar photos in so that we can see their face better and then enlarge it and it would make it look like a new photo.
In addition, with the first layout, you lack drop shadows, but in the second layout, the drop shadows are much too high. Everything looks as if it is very far off the page.
I have a video here that should help you better understand how to make realistic drop shadows.
I see the drop shadows as your main problem with the page.
Try again and lets see if there are more suggestions from me.