Miniature World Photo-Manipulations by 14-Year-Old Photographer “Fiddle Oak”


How old were you when you first started working with Photoshop? 14-year-old Natick, Massachusetts-based photographer and retoucher Zev has been at it for 6 years now, which means he first picked up his camera and laid his mouse cursor on Photoshop’s Toolbox when he was just eight years old!

Since 2011, Zev has been sharing his work through Flicker under the screen name Fiddle Oak. His photos span various genres, but it’s his photo-manipulated “miniature world” images that have been attracting a great deal of interest online.

Using his camera “Betsy,” Zev photographs himself and his family and then loads in the images into Photoshop, where the people in them are extracted and composited as tiny figures in a gigantic world.

The resulting images are beautiful and impressive (did we mention that he’s only fourteen?):

















Want a peek into how the images are made? Zev has a behind-the-scenes blog post that shows the creation of one particular photo. He says that he spent seven days thinking about the theme “memory.”

He then photographed his uncle while his sister held up green fabric in the background (for masking purposes)…


…and also his grandfather’s pocket watch:


He then spent “hours of toil” fusing the two photographs together into a single composite image:


Here’s what Zev had to tell us regarding his ‘Shopping process:

I shoot the ‘background’ picture first, and it is usually a panorama made up of 5-20 pictures, combining pictures taken at this distance from the subject replicates the look of shooting with a large format sensor, even though I shoot APS-C. After this is done, I take a picture of a person in the exact same (or as close as I can get it) lighting, take that picture into Photoshop, mask out the background (usually with the polygonal lasso and brush) and color correct them so that the brightness and tonality is the same between the background and the miniature person.

Then I add depth of field to the person (using quick masks, and lens blur). Then, I draw in shadows, (also using quick masks and lens blur) and call it done. The process usually takes me 4-6 hours.

His 18-year-old sister Nellie — the one “seen” holding up the cloth above — is Zev’s colaborer, working with him on many of the concepts and setups. However, Zev alone handles the camera and mouse during shooting and post-processing stages (Nellie does have some beautiful work of her own).

Head on over to the Fiddle Oak photostream on Flickr to see more of Zev’s beautiful images.

Fiddle Oak’s Photostream [Flickr via Colossal]

Image credits: Photographs by Zev (AKA “Fiddle Oak”) and used with permission

  • Max Burnett

    The fact that this guys on 14 makes me feel a bit ill… Having said that, what an amazing portfolio. Great work, great inspiration.

  • Joey Duncan

    My thoughts exactly.

  • Joey Duncan

    This is really cool, I hope this kid keeps it up.

    P.S. to the person who will inevitably flame this kid’s work by posting “it’s ok” or “I don’t really like it” , get over yourself, move on.

  • Guest

    “…it is usually a panorama made up of 5-20 pictures, combining pictures taken at this distance from the subject replicates the look of shooting with a large format sensor, even though I shoot APS-C.”

    Does anyone know how one would go about doing this? I’m not sure I understand.

  • Roberto Inetti

    Petapixel, please more of this.

    Thank you.

  • Felipe Yang

    It’s more commonly known as the Brenizer method. It stitches together multiple pictures of shallow depth of field to create a wider picture and it ends up creating those dreamy pictures you see.

  • Choen Lee

    damn good stuff.

  • someguy

    not my cup of tea and I’m fairly sure there was something like this on Petapixel at least once befor.. oh, right there it is, “similar posts”! But. Mad props to the kid. The direct comparison* shows that this is very nice work indeed.

    *not really needed

  • 4dmaze

    Makes me wish they would bring back the old TV series ‘Land of the Giants’. But only if they could do it with this great dreamy surrealistic look…

  • Joey Duncan

    WOW, it really didn’t take long for the first Troll comment to pop up….

    REALLY???? Was this part REALLY needed “not my cup of tea and I’m fairly sure there was something like this on Petapixel at least once befor.. oh, right there it is, “similar posts”!” Did you REALLY feel the need to express your negativity? If this was a car site and they posted two separate posts about Ferrari would you be upset? It’s a picture site about pictures…. troll

  • Courtney Navey

    wow…my son’s 3 and already walks around with my old AE-1. I would probably learn to back flip if he started using photoshop at 8…and creating awesome work like this.

  • joerg

    Great and inspiring

  • Delowa

    lovely stuff, well done!

  • SpaceMan

    Y u feed troll?

  • zevobh

    haha keep your shirts on.

  • D. Benjamin

    Photoshop junkie on-and-off since early 90’s and this kid’s already kickin’ my azz and that of many I’ve seen recently in the best creative and delightful way. Beautiful and entrancing work. Any venture capitalists w/ an eye toward good cinema may want to keep theirs on this one over the next few years…funding an imagination like that is a win for everyone involved.

  • Jesper

    To me it’s not the photoshop skills of this young man I’m impressed by. There are numerous 14 year old kids that rock whatever “thing” then spend lots of time on (think hackers as an example). It’s this kids creativity I find inspiring. Awesome work. I hope he make it big!

  • dee

    Beautiful work for a fully grown adult. But for a 14 year old to do this is OUT OF THIS WORLD! Love them all, each one is magical!

  • thingwarbler

    Beautiful. Yes, not just the Photoshop work and the photography, but the creative thinking that’s behind it is inspiring and really fun to see executed so well. Keep at it, kid, and we’ll all be flipping through your coffee table books for inspiration in a few years.

  • Annie

    What also makes it impressive is the fact that the kid keeps the lighting of the subject and the surrounding pretty darn consistent, which makes the image that much more believable. Awesome!

  • A-pro-but-not-this-good

    Simply stunning! There are a lot of people with great photography skills and great photoshop skills (even I could do that part) but the amazing part is his creativity! You just can’t “learn” that stuff! Well done, and keep it coming – the world needs more creative people like you!

  • maclancy

    amazing! amazing! what a good clear body of work! A world that is small yet fantastic.

  • DrMocktopus

    Looks photoshopped

  • SimpleUniverse

    Ya think?

  • Antonio M. Rosario

    This is great!

  • Xfour00

    i think his point may be that it LOOKS photoshopped when the goal of a photoshopper is to have it look natural; either way pretty great work imo

  • RBM

    Wow, the technical skills with the camera and the computer speak for themselves…..but it’s the underlying creativity is really beyond amazing.

  • alvin