Everything is circumstantial.
This morning, I had a thought that I really do love sun flare in an image. Then I had to walk back my statement to myself. I love sun flare in certain images with certain circumstances, but, like everything, if not done correctly, sun flare can completely ruin a picture.
The same thing can be said for composition, lighting, the f-stop you choose for your image. Intention is everything.
That being said, intention behind a photograph doesn’t always make it a good photograph. Culling is still necessary. An understanding of where someone’s eye will be drawn is still necessary, seeing the complete image in your head to know whether everything needs to be in focus or not is still necessary.
The left two images didn’t work for me. In the top left image, I felt like the lens flare made Kallie’s face look greyed out and a little out of focus. In the bottom left image image, Mike’s eye is bleached out by the sun. It makes him look like he has an eye patch.