Natural light is most flattering early in the morning or late in the afternoon. So, if your family is a flock of early birds, try gathering everyone at the beach or down by the river around 9 a.m. Late afternoon also works great for adding warmth to your photos, so try scheduling a shoot around 5 p.m., when everyone is dressed and ready for dinner.
Midday sun can be harsh and unflattering. But if that's the only time you can shoot, find a shady spot out of direct sunlight, or shoot on a cloudy day. You'll get softer shadows, smoother skin tone, and greater detail.