I'm new to WordPress. I have some PHP and MySQL experience. My client uses 1and1 hosting and running WordPress software on the hosting site. She wants me to develop a form where users can submit images with a large amount of image metadata. So this form would need a relational database (tell me if there is a better way) that contains several tables, because certain fields like "tags" will have multiple entries. So I'm thinking multiple tables for normalization purposes.
Data will be submitted by several hundreds of people with possible large image files. Some other people will have the ability to query the DB via another form I will create and look for images with a specific tag name, location, image subject, etc.
I know how to design this database and write the php code if I created a non-WordPress plain php site talking to a MySQL DB on the hosting site. However, I'm having issues with how to implement such page/db on WordPress. I looked into contactForm7 and Contact DB plugin and set up a small form. This is when I realized that the form is saved on WordPress in one large unmodifiable single table.
1. Can I implement my conceptual db and form using WordPress? Am I using the right plugins?
2. What's the difference between using WordPress DB vs. MySQL DB on the hosting service?
Please tell me how should I proceed.