I think photography like everything runs in fashions. Not so long ago extreme shallow depth of field was the preferred look, especially in food photography. Then came off camera flash, just about everywhere you looked someone had jumped on the bandwagon (note my cynicism) now it is lens flare. I also like using shallow depth of field and off camera flash and have been known to include a bit of lens flare in shots but I don’t use them all the time on every subject, being selective in creative tools is as important as where you point your camera otherwise it just becomes a gimmick that you use whilst you wait for the next trend to come along. I try to encourage my students to be unique, to show the world what they see through their eyes rather than just following the latest fad.
Lens flare is not difficult but a little help in any process is welcome and this, from those good folks at Lightstalking, is a place to start
“For many years in photography, lens flare was actively avoided by photographers. Flare, which is basically light scattered within the lens due to unplanned reflection and lens impurities, was considered as something that ruined a photograph. Equipment like lens hoods were invented to help prevent it. But times change and so do fashions.
These days, not only to many photographers not mind some lens flare, they actively seek to get it to add some creativity to their shots. And, to be fair, quite often it looks pretty cool. Check out these great examples of creative lens flare and look at the resources at the end to find out how to shoot with or without lens flare in your own shots.”
Lens Flare Links and Tutorials