This may come as a shock, but almost all people who you may have judged as having an innate ability to perform some technical skill (WITHOUT any prior formal training) have indeed LEARNED how to become masters at what they do. We often see great artwork and think to ourselves “wow, they’re talented,” thinking that there was very little (or perhaps NO) preparation before the ‘great masterpiece’ was unveiled. Nothing can be further from the truth.
OK! I’m shocked!
The first definition of “talent” is: a special natural ability or aptitude. The second definition is: a capacity for achievement or success; ability: young men of talent. … which could be viewed as the “capacity” is caused by education.
Over the years I have met lots of people. Some have been extremely good at what they were studying, or at their job, others have been mediocre even after extensive training. I think the difference is talent or aptitude. I think you can find examples of the same thing in almost any field. In the art world it may be even more prevalent because a good picture can be created from knowledge but a great picture also needs to be created from “heart”.
Someone with aptitude will absorb a lot of knowledge through osmosis, just by being exposed. They will seem quite talented without having been formally trained and will be able to make leaps of faith that work out. They will be good without formal training and even better with the right training.
A note to Madison:
I like your photos, too, and think you have talent which can be further improved by both directed and undirected study. Whether you want to do photography as a career or just as a hobby, I think you are going in the right direction and will be able to progress further. Best wishes.