I really like photography as documentation, and when it comes to that style of photography, it helps to have some connections, and an open mind. Everyone has personal connections they can use when it comes to photography, but you may not realize it because it's a part of your daily life.
My wife is a vet student, and much of our lives revolves around animals, be it wild or pet. I see a lot of things the layperson may not because of this, and I've found it a great way to get my foot in the door in many cases. A friend of a friend may run the wildlife sanctuary, which gives access to all sorts of interesting photo opportunities, like exercising a hawk, pictured above.
Even though I'm not interested personally in animal medicine, tagging along on field trips gets me opportunities to see things from a different perspective. The Vet students see this stuff every day, so they may not think it's so extraordinary.
That's the challenge for photographers. We have to recognize the extraordinary, and that's especially difficult in our own lives. When you see the same thing over and over again, you begin to develop a sort of blindness.
Let's say you're going to photograph an event, like the upcoming Christmas parade. What would you take photos of? Most people will shoot the environment, with photos of the floats as a result. The people around you are equally interesting though, many times more so than the parade itself.
The best thing to do, most times, is not get lost in the crowd. Keep your mind focused on getting a good photo, and don't be surprised if it comes from where you least expect.