In photography, composition refers to the arrangement of the elements in the picture (composition can both refer to the finished photograph and be used as a verb to describe the act of positioning oneself and the photograph's subject in a specific manner). When I was talking to a friend in German I wanted to tell him I liked the composition of one of his photographs, but I wasn't sure what word to use.

The direct translation (false friend?) Komposition doesn't have the same meaning in German. The only word I came up with was Bildaufbau, but that still feels wrong (in a way that it doesn't mean the same as the english word). Is there a better translation for composition that can be used in this context?

  • 1
    Why do you think 'Komposition' was wrong? Which aspect of 'composition' is not covered?
    – Arsak
    May 30, 2016 at 19:59
  • Do you think it is the correct word? I have never really heard it used in that context ..
    – MoritzLost
    May 30, 2016 at 20:00
  • I'd go for 'Bildkomposition', but I'm not a photographer, hence the question
    – Arsak
    May 30, 2016 at 20:02

1 Answer 1


The Answer is:




The German word »Komposition« and the english »composition« derive both from the latin verb »conponere«, which means »put together«. The meaning has no special bounding to musics. In German and in English this word is used mainly in the context of arts, and here in painting as well as in musics.

Artistic photography is seen as a special kind of painting, and when you study painting (or photography), you learn about »Bildkompositon« (literally »picture composition«).

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