BAD: There is no focus in this photo. The only interesting part is the background, but hte only human element is cut off. There is no visual impact to this. Photo from Huffpost
BAD: THe focus of this photo is in the center, which violates the rule of thirds. In addition, my eye does not follow focus on anything specific. It's just a broad photo of a building. Had the photo focused more and closed in past the walking people, it would be more compelling.
GOOD: This photo from the LA Times Framework is excellent! The rule of thirds is applied here and the human element is not centered. There is no other distraction here because the background is plain.
GOOD: This other photo from the LA times Framework is also extremely compelling. To capture emotion in a sports photo is extremely difficult because the players are wearing helmets. Also I like how its close up. If it were far away, the emotion would not be captured and it would be distracting had there been a busy background.