I've found myself getting lost in execution. By spending a shit ton of time on assignments via the research phase and finding the "correct" photography, I've lost the connection I use to have with my work. So, I decided to include myself in the process. My current project required me to find a hand in mud. By battling prices for stock photography and endless pages on Google, I took a look to my right at my Rebel T3i and figured, "What the hell, go take your own damn pictures." So, I got down and dirty. I called up one of my buddies, we grabbed a jug of water and started our to hike to fine the "right" place to dip our hands in.
Not that stock photography doesn't have its own merits and feeds many mouths, but there's a certain pride you feel when you have full creative control over how the final product comes together. Additionally, it's fun as hell to pose in those ridiculous poses people do! Ever see someone posing for a photo, doing some sort of swan impression? (haha) Being a bystander, you judge them incredibly, but secretly, you wish you thought of it first. There's nothing like embodying those strange people and placing yourself in those same positions.
Photography is growing, and rapidly. With the camera's on phones getting higher and higher pixel ratios, the quality of the photo is stupendous. However, arguably, changing depth of field, exposure and lighting are crucial to producing a great photo. By being the art director in the piece, you now have full creative capability over what the outcome of the photo will turn out to be, rather than praying for that perfect photo.
So, for advice, get down and dirty in your work. Even if it means making your hands look like someone poo'd all over them.