Apologies in advance for any hurt I might cause! Most of my suggestions are from all the reading I have done over the years, and a bit of experience of paid shooting. But not to a profitable level, because I was never brave enough to do what you are thinking of doing. So well done to you for that.
First, lets consider that girl in a hat. I don’t really think it is too bright, there are few if any blown-out or overbright areas in the shot. However, there is a very narrow range of greys on the face, the most important part of the shot maybe. I hope you are shooting in RAW, and if you are it may be possible to improve the pic by playing with colour sliders in your postprocessing software, to put a bit more contrast into the face. Also, maybe including a tiiiiny bit of the eye further away would have added to the shot somehow. I wonder how many shots you took of this pose? This one is fine, but a dozen more from 1 inch higher, 1 inch lower, and so on, might have helped. The thing that detracts from the shot, in my eyes, is the shadow below her chin? How many light sources were you using? Portraits often need 2 or more, and in particular don’t use on-camera flash.
You mention resulting edits – do you use postprocessing software? It’s often very expensive, but an excellent free one I use as my default is Faststone Image Viewer. People often comment that my b&w conversions are nice, yet all I did was press a single button! (Gray Scale) PP suites like Photoshop and Lightroom are expensive, overcomplicated, and give you several more ways to get it right, and 1000s more ways to get it wrong…
Let’s talk about your portfolio on Viewbug. First, it’s in the wrong place! I assume it’s free, but it, and others like FB, Flickr and so on are places where we can post shots and get oodles of praise from our pals, or as shown in YANAP from people who have no idea about photography and may even dislike a shot that was perfect. Your portfolio would be better on your own website, so you could have full control of it’s content, and to show a level of professionalism.
Now let’s look at its content. It is too small! It suggests you have only taken 65 shots that you are proud to show to other people. The portfolio will be even smaller after my suggestions! Your website might be better if it was in sections: People, Pets, Babies, Scenery spring to mind after a quick look. Remove: butterflies, squirrels, ducks, fireworks… bla bla bla – you see where I am going with this? You must be VERY critical of your own work. Only the best will do, and don’t bother trying to sell shots that people can get/steal for nothing off the internet. You may sell such shots, but mainly by including them as cutaways taken during someone’s half-day or day long session or wedding. I suggested babies as a category. This could be very profitable, but the shots you show are often very similar. Take lots more shots for any category you choose to specialise in. Take them now – maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon, and for the rest of your life. Don’t choose categories that are too wildly different. Few people would trust a wedding photographer who also specialises in insect macros, sports photography, and forensic medicine! For people and babies, that you seem to be good at, you might have to offer or even beg to do free sessions for people, with them paying for materials, in order to boost your portfolio.
You wanted to be paid for a gig as second shooter. No way that’s gonna happen, based on your portfolio. Not the quality, which is ok, but the extent. The guy was doing you a favour allowing you to be there, take shots, lots of shots, and learn from him/her. You are effectively at a stage where any form of internship is a godsend, grab every opportunity.
Webites and online resources to look at. YANAP, of course, will show you nearly everything you shouldn’t do! I don’t know your gear, but I love Pentax gear, and pentaxforums.com is the most helpful and supportive website for photographers I have ever encountered. So good in fact that some people have changed from Canikon to Pentax just because of the website, Other sites include theonlinephotographer.com, strobist, and googling for instructional videos is very useful too. photoinf.com, slrlounge.com. The list is endless.
Now some questions. What area of photography do you love most? Or more inportantly, what area do you do best They are not necessarily the same. Also, don’t forget that you are no longer taking shots for the joy of it – you are doing it for commercial reasons. This will impose its own restrictions and requirements, and may even suck all the fun out of your hobby.
What gear do you have? I have some suggestions, but they are worthless without me knowing about your equipment. Fwoarr! Can you list it here, I will bookmark this, and return later.
I have probably forgotten loads, and some of what I say maybe obvious, or even wrong! Such is life.