One thing I have learned since my interest in photography has blossomed, is how important good light is. You can have the perfect setting, the perfect subject, but if your light is "blah", your photo will be "blah".
Mid-afternoon often provides the harshest and most unflattering light of the day. The sun is straight overhead. The light is bright, very strong and often casts unflattering shadows. Before taking up photography, I never knew this and would actually think a bright sunny afternoon is the perfect time for a photo shoot!!
Now you can still shoot amazing photos during the midday. One trick is to find some shade and get out of the direct sun. Or, you can move your shoot to early morning or late afternoon when the light is angled, soft and warm. Or, even better, get your kids out right before bedtime when the sun is almost setting.
Last night, we were filling up my new raised garden bed with dirt. The kids were having a blast helping with the raking and shoveling. When I looked at my Christina standing in our backyard, with the evening sun glowing around her head, I just HAD to drop everything, wash my dirt/manure caked hands, and get my camera.
And, WOW! Even more amazing - I took this photo at almost 8 pm.! Not often a time of day thought of as perfect for family photos! But just look at that light! Doesn't that make you want to move all your photo sessions to the evening hours???