As we briefly touched on last month, the edges of your photograph are just as important as what's in the middle. We discussed how to control someone's focus through your photograph yesterday. A huge factor of controlling their focus is how you utilize your frame.
The first photograph uses frame in a subtle, yet beautiful way. The consistent use of the color green with nature keeps your eye centered on the family in the middle. Your eye attempts to wander around, but since there are no distracting factors or strong lines to take your concentration away from the family, you find yourself studying the people, which is exactly what the photographer intended.
If you realize in your editing stage that the lines caused by the tree branches are too strong, you can always blur the background a little bit to make them more subtle. If you realize it while shooting, adjust your aperture to narrow your focal range (see cheat sheet in previous post).
The second photograph is a good example of where cropping can greatly help your image. Notice how the right portion of the photograph is basically perfect. There are minimal distracting factors, and your eye bounces between the boy's eyes and the soccer ball.
In the middle of the photograph, you notice the man in white in the background. This photographer was more than likely taking this photograph from a journalistic standpoint, which means, ethically, you should not omit details of the photograph. From a journalistic standpoint, you can edit clarity and color as long as the final image still portrays the same message as the original image. If this photograph were taken for an artistic view, I would edit out the man in white.
The left side of the photograph, for me, is distracting, The blurred boys face draws your attention (I can't stress enough how attracted humans are to focusing on a pair of eyes or face). I would crop them out of the image completely. Cropping them out does not change the message of the photograph, so it would still be fine, ethically speaking, from a journalistic view. Artistically, I believe cropping them out is a must.