Business on the Top, Quarantine on the Bottom


Photography duo Alex and Chelsea Workman recently embarked on a fun little portrait project that pokes fun at the occasional absurdity of remote work. They call the series #COVIDwear: Business on the top. Quarantine on the bottom. the tendency of today’s remote worker to

In case the title wasn’t enough of a clue, the point of the series is to capture silly portraits of people dressed in business wear from the waist up, and “quarantine” clothing (PJs, boxers, athleisure wear) from the waist down.

“In this crazy season, we really wanted to do something creative that could put smiles on peoples faces and ‘poke fun’ at the strange times we are living in and the adjustments we’ve had to make without being disrespectful of the severity of this virus,” Workman tells PetaPixel. “The concept became COVIDwear.”

To capture the portraits, the duo set up a small, makeshift studio in their garage where they could photograph people while respecting social distancing guidelines.

Three solid color seamless backgrounds were chosen and set up from floor to ceiling on c-stands. For lighting, a Profoto A1X with a soft bounce was used to light up the background, and a Profoto B1X with a 5-foot Octa box was used as a key light.

All photos were taken using a Canon EOS R and a Canon RF 28-70mm f/2L, with the camera tethered to Alex’ MacBook Pro and an external display, which were “sitting on a ‘desk’ made of random containers in the garage.” Sometimes you have to work with what you’ve got…

Capturing the actual photos was a challenge for several reasons, mainly because of the Florida heat and the effort they made to do this all safely.

“Setting up a studio in our garage in the beginning of Florida’s summer isn’t the most ideal, as there are days when it gets really hot. However, we had to close the door to control the lighting so that made social distancing a bit challenging as well,” explains Alex. “We had bottles of hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes for participants and for any gear/furniture that they touched, and we tried to work quickly to avoid anyone sweating in blazers and messing up their hair/makeup.”

The results are a fun set of portraits featuring a variety of #COVIDwear and a wide range of personalities. “People played up the character as much as they felt comfortable with,” says Alex. “We basically wanted to portray what’s probably happening out of the frame on a ZOOM call.”

Scroll down to see the results:

“We have had so many people from our community reach out and support the project. From friends to elected leaders (Coral Background in Yoga Pose is one of our County Commissioners), it has been amazing to see how folks loved the idea and our goal to put smiles on faces is working,” says Workman. “We are even getting emails where people are sharing their crazy Zoom call stories.”

They’re still taking photos, and you can follow along online if you want to see more. You can find more #COVIDwear photos on the project’s website, Instagram, and Twitter, or by following The Workmans on Facebook. And you want to see some of their non-COVID work, you can find that on their main website and Instagram account.


Image credits: All photos by Alex and Chelsea Workman and used with permission.





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