10 non-photography terms every photographer should know

Matt Bennett

Knowing how to turn people surfing the Internet into clients is the science that can make or break your success as a photographer.

10 non-photography terms for photographers
10 non-photography terms for photographers

If you’re just discovering online marketing for your photography brand, you’ll most likely be overwhelmed with the amount of things you need to learn. Even seasoned professionals that have been using digital marketing for years are continually facing new terms and tactics in this ever-changing world.

In this post you will discover 10 terms and concepts that are not directly related to photography, but are vitally important to know if you run or looking to start a photography business.

We’ve paired the terms into sub-categories in order to make it easier to follow.

Website Management

1. SaaS-based CMS

SaaS stands for Software as a Service. CMS means content management system. Together these acronyms mean a piece of software that you can access in your web browser and use to create and manage your website, blogs, and other online profiles.

An example of SaaS-based service for photographers is Defrozo, a free multi-tool platform that helps photographers display and market their work online.

Why it’s important: Compared to individually installed, self-hosted website (e.g. when you buy a hosting account, install WordPress, buy a custom theme…), SaaS services provide unmatched ease-of-use, convenience, and support that you can access by simply logging in to your account. Unless you have some advanced tech / coding skills, SaaS is a life-saving solution.

2. Custom domain

When you sign up for an account to host your photo website or blog on such services as or, you get a URL based on the username you’ve selected (for example, “”).

Most hosted services as such listed above allow you to bind your site to your own domain name, such as “”. This name is commonly referred to as custom domain.

Why it’s important: while there’s nothing wrong with generic domain names provided by the hosted services, a custom domain is usually considered to deliver a more unique and professional image for your website.

Web Design

3. HTML5, CSS3, JavaScript

HTML is a coding language used to present text, graphics, and links on the web pages. HTML5 is the latest version of it that brought some exciting new technologies, such as video playback or drag-and-drop, to our browsing experience.

CSS is a chunk of code used to design the general look of a website without the need to edit each specific HTML element. Today, even advanced interactivity and animations can be done with CSS3, the latest version of CSS.

While the combination of HTML and CSS works only for displaying information, JavaScript enables interactions with that information. This scripting language has become very popular lately due to excellent user experience it can deliver.

Why it’s important: if you want your photo site to engage visitors and make them come back again and again, make sure your website management platform or web designer uses the latest technologies such as HTML5, CSS3, and JavaScript.

4. Responsive Design

A design that automatically rearranges its elements so that your site is easy to interact with no matter what device it’s viewed on.

For example, your photo gallery may have a grid layout on the large desktop screen, but it will automatically squeeze to one column when you open it on a smartphone.

An ideal responsive design would also adapt to the viewer’s context, as when you open a website on an iPhone, you’re offered to download a relevant iOS app.

Why it’s important: in the era of mobile Internet, responsive design (often referred as mobile-ready) is no longer a whim but a necessity.

Search Engine Optimization

5. Image ALT tag

An alternate text description of an image file in your website’s HTML code. Its main function is to tell search engines what the image is about. It always works for usability being displayed on your site when the image cannot be loaded.

Why it’s important: Search engines use alt attributes to  figure out the most relevant images to return for a search query. By defining the alt text for every photo on your website, you can increase your visibility on search result pages and thus drive more people to your photo site.

6. Meta tags

Special properties hidden in your website’s code that tells search engines what this web page is about. Website’s meta title and meta description are considered to be the most essential meta tags.

Why it’s important: meta tags play an important role in every search engine’s algorithm, so by adding meta tags that are relevant to your site’s visible content, you increase chances of seeing your website higher in the search engine results pages.

Content Strategy

7. Social media automation 

Streamlining your activities in social media in order to improve your productivity and avoid performing repetitive tasks. Putting tweets in a queue or instant sharing of your latest blog post to specified social networks are the examples of automation. Some popular automation tools include Buffer, Hootsuite, IFTT, Socialoopmh, etc.

Why it’s important: because it can save a great deal of your time, that’s why! Besides, social media automation helps you to provide relevant information for your clients and prospects when they need it, not just when you can do it. That means more  engagement, more booked sessions, and more money.

8. Inbound Marketing

While traditional marketing supposes you to actively seek clients, inbound marketing focuses on clients that seek you. Examples of traditional, or outbound marketing, are all kinds of broadcast and print ads, direct mail, tradeshows, etc). Blog posts with helpful tips, educational newsletter, or a how-to webinar are all the examples of inbound marketing efforts.

Why it’s important: in the social era we live, inbound marketing has proven to be an extremely effective business strategy. By optimizing your online activities to provide information that is relevant and useful to your target audience, you can reach some outstanding results in attracting customers to your photography brand.

Email Marketing

9. Opt-in Email

Any promotional email sent to people who have specifically requested it via a signup form. This type of email marketing is also called permission-based. Opt-in email is the opposite to bulk email spam, when you’re sending out mass email to people that never asked for it, even if you think the email might be interesting to them.

Why it’s important: opt-in email is the only kind of email you should use for your marketing.It’s a common inbound marketing tactics which can help you build stronger relationships with your clients and attract new ones to your photography business.

10. List Segmentation

Breaking down the list of your email subscribers into groups and sending out emails relevant to each specific group. For example, you can segment your list by the type of photography (wedding or seniors), or by the level of interest in your services (past clients and prospects).

Why it’s important: sending out targeted emails to each list segment you can improve the response rate and decrease the number of spam reports and unsubscribes.

Over to you!!

These are just 10 out of hundreds of terms that form a progressive digital photographer’s glossary. What terms do you find difficult to understand while promoting your photography online? Let me know in the comments and I’ll be happy to explain and discuss them with you!

About the author:

Demetrio Fortman is a New-York based web developer and entrepreneur whose passion for photography led him to creating Defrozo, a free marketing platform for photographers.

As Defrozo is running on Kickstarter, Demetrio and the team are seeking the community’s feedback so that we could build an awesome product together. Connect with Demetrio on Twitter and Facebook.

  • Tell a Friend
  • Our Twitter provides the latest photography news and our Facebook fan page is the best place to communicate with other Digital Photographer fans.