If I was a beginner (I’m not really calling you a beginner now, but you were at one point), I’d still rather pay the pro (while I was still learning to be a good photographer) just because I’d probably be hard on myself. But once you get yourself to that point, where you’re confident in your ability to take photos of your own kids that rival the pros you used to hire, then it is worth it. But remember, you still want to be in your family photos, so you would have to hire a photog to do those yet. Even if you have a tripod and a remote, it’s almost always better to have someone take the photos. My friend, who is a photographer, did her own engagement photos. They were pretty good, technically-sound, but they lacked the really fun poses because she didn’t have anyone directing them. It’s great too to network with other photogs in your area, so you can trade services. They can shoot family photos for you and you can shoot family photos for them- sometimes you can work it out so that you can edit “your” own photos. I did this with the photog I used to work for, I took her family photos for their Christmas card and she did the editing, and as a tradeoff, she took photos of me and my brother in her studio for a gift for our parents and grandma.