Have you received your welcome mailer? Excellent. Read on to learn how to "adopt" images and return completed restorations. We swear it's not complicated!

→  Photo Adoption requests should be sent to careforsandy (at) gmail.com.
→  If English is not your first language, ask us to simplify our instructions!
→  Do NOT begin a restoration without first reading these instructions in full.
→  Do NOT send adoption requests via Flickr or Facebook.
→  Do NOT submit adoption requests unless you are a registered volunteer.
→  Do NOT ever drag images from our albums to restore.
→  Do NOT ever crop, rotate, shift, resize nor convert to grayscale or CMYK.
→  You have up to 3 months to complete each restoration!
→  Please start with a simple image, then work your way up! 
→  Please do not go AWOL. About 20% have abandoned chosen images! 
→  Please back up your files! Make copies as you work, in case of the unthinkable.
→  Please review our restoration toolbox before beginning your first restoration!

Photo Adoptions requests are usually processed in 1-4 days. RIPS typically receive replies in 2-10 days (or longer if backed up.) Thanks for your patience!


  1. ADOPT ME! (Most Cherished) Advanced Color/B&W
  2. ADOPT ME! (Top 2-10 Advanced) Color/B&W
  3. ADOPT ME! (Top 2-10 Intermediate) Color/B&W
  4. ADOPT ME! (Top 2-10 Beginner) NOW EMPTY!!!
  5. ADOPT ME! (Advanced Color)
  6. ADOPT ME! (Advanced B&W)
  7. ADOPT ME! (Intermediate Color)
  8. ADOPT ME! (Intermediate B&W)
  9. ADOPT ME! (Beginner Color & BW) 
  10. CODE CP! Mixed skill-levels + Color/B&W; Flickr only
  11. HIGH PRIORITY Mixed skill-levels + Color/B&W; Flickr only

Consult our website albums or  Flickr sets to select which images appeal. Flickr photostreams are easier to navigate. We suggest you browse there. Images situated towards the beginning of all albums belong to families with the fewest restorations. Conversely, images situated towards the end belong to those with the most.

If an Intermediate/Advanced volunteer, please prioritize ADOPT ME! (Top 2-10) images. Aside from ADOPT ME! (Most Cherished)which all currently require Advanced skills, these are images which families have indicated matter most. Our HIGH PRIORITY album is also a great place to browse, representing the neediest families of the moment. And CODE CP! contains images belonging to families slated for CARE Packages. Restorations culled from CODE CP! will be printed and bound in hand-holdable photo albums, c/o awesome donors.

That said, you may freely choose images from any albums which match your respective skill level and interest — save for Most Cherished selections, which may not be adopted until at least one challenging Advanced restoration has been successfully submitted and approved.

TIP: Images with lots of darks/blacks tend to be the most time-consuming to clean. 


Please send a list of 3-4 images that appeal (or follow the guidelines in STEP #3 if you'd like staff to choose an image for you.) You will not be sent 3-4 high-res downloads. You will be sent ONE high-res image to restore — until you've demonstrated that you're skilled and timely enough to take on batch adoptions. Listing several helps prevent family favoritism, combats overlapping requests and provides alts in case we know your primary choice will be tougher than suspected.

To do so locate the specific file name located below each photo. Cut-and-paste these file names as a numbered list into the body of your e-mail. (URLS are not file names!) Provide a brief description of the photo to make sure your requests align and to help staff locate them faster. *Do not send multiple e-mails for multiple images. One e-mail will suffice!

Here's an example of what this should look like:


Your e-mail subject line should contain three components. How you title your e-mail is ESSENTIAL!!! Proper naming helps keep hundreds of volunteers and thousands of photos organized. Place only one image title in your subject line, that of your #1 select (rather than 3-4). Please do not stray from the following subject line template:

Subject: I CHOOSE THIS ONE ||| image name (your #1 choice) ||| image folder name

*Sample Subject Line

If you'd like staff to choose an image for you, title your subject line as follows:

Subject: CHOOSE AN IMAGE FOR ME ||| desired skill level (e.g. beginner)


Once approved, you will be sent a Google Drive download link containing a high-res file. Most files will be 600dpi jpgs, unless we've opted to share a psd with color adjustment or border mask layers. We'll simultaneously remove your select from its original folder and place it in Adopted! paired with your first name, last initial, location and the (xx/xx/xx) date on which it was sent. Once you've received a confirmation e-mail paired with your download, you may begin your restoration! If all of your selects have already been adopted (which is unlikely), we'll ask you to submit 3-4 additional selects. Please do not EVER attempt to begin a restoration until we have sent e-mail confirmation. No website drags, please!

*Sample Confirmation Notification


To ensure that your restoration is approved and not sent back for amendments or (doh!) rejected, make absolutely sure you've thoroughly read this page. Cropping, rotating, shifting and resizing of our files is forbidden. So are many cosmetic changes, like under eye circle or object removal. Figure silhouetting with solid color background fills and universal blurring or drastic noise reduction when not used in masked moderation to attempt to disguise rather than remove lint or dust are also biggie no-nos. We cannot stress the importance of these guidelines. Please be absolutely sure you understand them! They are present to save us all time! If you anticipate difficulties, e-mail us! You can 'return' your prior select and may choose a NEW image which better matches your abilities!


One of our most important requests: Do not EVER rename any original, provided file. But DO add personalized naming extensions. When you first request a file it will look something like this:


We won't explain what each element stands for, but they're all important.

Now on to YOU. We want to keep track of who works on what and in what capacity, so we're going to ask you to add personalized naming extensions to your original file. File over-riding is a major issue we're hoping to avoid. Your working file needs _RIP _yourinitials_yourversion#. If you have been asked to submit more than one version, indicate this by 'numbering up' each variation. Lee Kelly's working files will look something like this:

dk_rockaways_112012_001_mc_cr_RIP_LKv1.jpg Version #1

dk_rockaways_112012_001_mc_cr_RIP_LKv1.psd Version #1, layered

dk_rockaways_112012_001_mc_cr_RIP_LKv2.jpg Version #2


Our preferred mode of sharing for those of you with gmail accounts? Google Drive. If you have a gmail address, click here to learn how to upload files to Google Drive and click here to learn how to share direct links to your uploaded files on Google Drive.

We also accept files via personal ftps, hightail, WeTransfer, (which requires no sign-up, up to 2G per mailing/multiple files + provides a download confirmation receipt to provide peace of mind) and Dropbox — or any file exchange service of your choosing. Download links which expire are discouraged. DO NOT EVER SEND RIPS AS E-MAIL ATTACHMENTS!


So you don't see any problematic areas outlined on this page that might result in requests for amendments? And you've added personalized naming extensions as outlined in STEP #6? Great! Please e-mail us using the following subject line:

Subject: RESTORATION COMPLETE ||| image name 

The best way to share files is to paste their url download links directly into the body of your e-mail. Please submit all related files (if sharing multiple variations) for a given RIP return in a single share, rather than a string of individual shares. If you've opted to send files directly from Google Drive, WeTransfer, Hightail, DropBox, Photoshelter or similar, please supplement your direct share with a message from your personal e-mail account containing the requested subject line pictured above.This will help us identify what you've sent in one time-saving glance, plus will ensure you receive an auto reply, aka delivery confirmation.

*Direct sends outside sharing services will not receive delivery confirmations, as they arrive from vendor e-mail addresses vs personal e-mail accounts. Furthermore, outside providers won't let you title your own subject line, opting for generic doozies like "Xxxxx would like to share files with you", "Image share from Xxxxx" or "Xxxxx wants to share this folder with you" . Following these RIP return directions will help us keep 25,000+ e-mails organized.

→  Submit completed restorations as flattened, (Quality: 12) optimized jpgs 
→  Do not send layered files (psds) — unless requested
→  Send separate notifications for each unique adoption 
→  We cannot process returns w'out links that say, "It's in my share folder!" 
→  Not yet done with a RIP but need guidance? Follow the same directions.  
→  Let us know if your display credits change (i.e. location/personal website)

(Many of our volunteers have outstanding credentials, but we may ask that amendments be made to your restored image as we're seeking exquisite attention to detail. 50% have required moderate to major improvements. 85% have required minor improvements. To help guide we sometimes send friendly, customized video tutorials that address issues for individual photos/volunteers. If you need help mid-way, let us know!)


You have just made a Sandy family very happy. So many have lost so much! Smiles and restored photographs are priceless. We'll be sending your restored file to the family it belongs to, posting your Before/After restorations here, and may Tweet orFacebook your amazing handiwork. Whether or not you've received feedback on your RIP(s), you may now choose additional images to restore, following this page's instructions anew. Thank you for participating!


PLEASE TAKE NOTE: If you find yourself too busy or not skilled enough to complete an adopted photo(s), or if you would like to request additional restoration time, let us know before your 3-month deadline has elapsed. We will totally understand (!), will happily return the image(s) to our adoption pool (or grant additional time), and per STEP #4's tracking methods will remove "ADOPTED BY: first name/ last initial/ location in its entirety from the image's subtext. Because awesome manners rock!!!


If an image is abandoned without a courtesy notification, i.e. if a volunteer disappears never to be heard from again and routinely ignores our requests for updates after a given 3-month deadline has long passed, "ADOPTED BY: first name/ last initial/ location" will be replaced with "ABANDONED BY: first name/ last name/ location" before being returned to our adoption pool.

This policy was enacted in 2014 to discourage volunteers from disappointing families and misusing CARE's valuable time. Over 325 photos have sadly been abandoned to date, resulting in over 200 wasted administrative hours. Thank you for remaining kind and respectfully communicative!

xoxox CARE for Sandy xoxox