I was a bit harsh in comments, though not the only one.
Your Q almost read as a joke, but was not recieved with humor or taken gently because of the myriad of new photographers who can now take “good” pictures by letting their digital cameras take the picture for them.
Photography is not about taking pictures, but about creating pictures. At least you are to be commended for knowing you need a DSLR and not an i-phone.
Also, I feel a bit for you, you didn’t ask for art criticism, but for pricing advice. Next time you will know that when you link to a gallery, you expose yourself to unsolicited critics.
Also, people jumped all over you because while you specified doing various types of portraits, you used wedding as an example. So people assumed you also wanted to do weddings and that is one of the hardest professional photo areas and is a unique irreplaceable day. If you bungle a pet portrait you can always reimburse the owner or do another shoot, not so with events.
We gave you a hard welcome because in your bushy tailed enthusiasm, you may have jumped a few ladders in wanting to go strait from camera fist time use to professional.
Yet, critics is the best way to improve, especially self-critiquing, but you are not at that stage yet, I can feel you enthusiasm, you are in the honey moon phase, and enamored with your pictures, and rightly so.
I had another look at your pictures, and saw some potential. I did click on every “show more” tab. I will quickly give you some tips
Light – avoid the harsh light of midday, shoot around down and dusk
Exposure – your camera meter can easily be fooled by light
conditions, when you know how, adjust for it.
Speed – vary speeds to smooth or freeze action when needed
Composition – I see some potential there, cultivate and develop it
Subject – find interesting subjects or make the ordinary seem
Camera hold – a lot of pictures had trouble due to improper hold,
think about geting a tripod or monopod
Horizon – lean to keep the horizon strait
Background – learn to look at the background, not just the subject
Foreground – have some, you need a foreground, middle ground and
background to add dimensionality to your pictures, this is especially
true for land and seascapes but not only. Always try to think in
terms on increasing the sense of depth.
Framing – be careful that lines, edges or the horizon doesn’t
decapitate, maim, cut in half or amputate your subjects
Editing – select only the best pictures to show the world, even very
famous photographers have very low keeper rate, I recently saw a
video by a national geographic photographer, Joel Sartore, who on one
assignment had 6 pictures selected out of 30 000 taken, a keeper rate
of 0.0002% but more realistically for us common mortals, something
like a 10% keeper rate is fine. Your portfolio should not have more
than 20 pictures per category, and in your present one, there should
have been only two parts, wedding and landscapes, the rest are mostly
Your pictures will look much better if you shoot what you love. From your website I mainly see landscapes, and you could do action
But, you want to do portraiture of pets, families, kids, senior…portraits is a specialized area, it seems to lie outside of your expertise.
You are a student of recreation and parks admin, I assume that means you will work in green vast areas have a lot of time outdoors…shoot that, yes it is not very commercial but you will improve and there are a few outlets.
Sports, you say you are an avid sports fan, shoot that, be the team photographer. Gain experience in this field and maybe one day go pro. Use any networking contact you had when you managed the basketball team.
Fishing with your dad, or the flowage, do landscapes, play with water reflections just remember to add a foreground for perspective, you can use the boat end, or water ripples if in the middle of a lake.
Hanging with friends, do casual portraits, street portraits…
student life, document student life, parties, concerts...
You have the website, so you are pro. i am reminded of a few humorous YouTube videos about how to be a pro in a day…basically you just need to look the part.
Ask yourself if being pro is something that you really want to do?
Having a professional site, even before buying a camera could indicate that you think this is a good and quick way to make money.
If so, you will have a hard awakening. Even if you are a good photographer the business side is very hard and most photographers who turn pro struggle to make ends meet and go bankrupt.
My advice would be not to buy a DSLR for those reasons.
I understand the temptation to make the gear pay for itself, and make some side money, but realistically you should take photos for a few years at least before deciding to turn pro.
If you buy yourself a cheap camera, you can train in most photo areas and improve considerably. The best way would be an old film camera or an old DSLR model.
You can also just start with something basic and learn all about composition. That is one of the most important of photo and is often neglected, after learning the basics, even by people who should know better.
Also by waiting to buy a DSLR, you will have more money to buy a decent system. The one that you mentioned is very, very, subpar, anything called rebel is rubish. see, easy rhymes that will earn me some downvotes, Canon Rebels are rubish, Sony is shit, Nikon Dx is for...
Though if you still want to go ahead now with a very low budget look into 10 years old professional DSLRs, it is much better to have an old canon 5D (mark i)or 1D markii or iii than a new basic entry level camera, particularly if you want to be semi-pro. for portraits, you don't realy need anything larger than 8MP, sure you can use more if you have them, but i wouldn't even consider a 4MP or less camera a deal breaker, moreso if you don't print and only see the results on screen... though most people will disagree with me and tell you to buy the latest high MP camera.
Reputation, which is also something to consider, particularly if you are a local boy in a small area, by the description you gave it seems you live in a small rural area.
if you start being pro too soon and produce sub-par pictures, you will ruin your reputation, even if you later get much better, once it's gone, it's gone... Maybe you can avoid some of that by shooting only in your student town, if you have no plan of staying there, or use another name as your "pro" name
The simple Q that was generally overlooked.
Well if after all the comments and unsolicited advice you still want to start charging for pictures after Christmas, it is your business and no one else, thank you very much…
There are many different ways of pricing, different approach and philosophies.
I will not go into detail, at the end, what maters is the offer demand and offer equilibrium.
I.e. how many customers you will get at that price, and how many at this one?
Some basic suggestions:
You can establish a minimum you need to charge, and add a premium
you can establish that you need, or want, X amount per month, divide it by 5 days x 40 hours, to have a base for hourly wage
you can take the hourly amount you would have made at another job and multiply it by a number to account for editing time and equipment.
you can look at the competition prices and align or be slightly lower
you can decide you want to make this much.
you can determine what your area can sustain
you can determine what your type of clients are willing to pay
you can decide you are worth X and that’s it
If you want the no-brainer, quickest answer after this long winded post, multiply minimum wage by 5 and add actual expenses like album or prints. i see that in Illinois it is now $8.25, so that is 41.25, say between $40 or $50 per hour. if your medium cost you less than $10 like with an inexpensive 8x10 or CD, charge $50
But the real answer is : AS MUCH AS YOU CAN GET AWAY WITH.