Have you received your welcome mailer? Excellent. Read on to learn how to "adopt" images and return completed restorations.

→  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 do not go AWOL on us. About 20% have abandoned chosen images! 
→  Please back up your files! Make occasional copies, in case of the unthinkable.
→  Please review our restoration toolbox tips for swifter restoration approvals.

NOTE: Like you, we also have regular full-time jobs + personal commitments.
Current response time for photo adoptions? 1-6 days. RIPS tend to be answered in 1-10 days. Click here to learn more about RIP timing. Thanks for your patience!


  1. ADOPT ME! (Most Cherished) Mixed skill-levels + Color/B&W; mostly Advanced at moment
  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) Color/B&W
  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)
  10. ADOPT ME! (Beginner B&W)
  11. *NEW HIGH PRIORITY Mixed skill-levels + Color/B&W; Flickr only

Note that our identical Flickr albums will let you browse photo walls, rather than one-by-one slideshows. Browse our website or Flickr albums to select which images appeal to you. Please prioritize "Most Cherished" photos, —IF— you feel you possess the necessary skills to repair a given photo there. These are images which families have indicated matter the absolute most, no matter how many have been submitted. ADOPT ME! (Top 2-10) images have been designated by families as most cherished runner-ups, and mark the next best place to surf, although new volunteers may feel more comfortable with non-priority images. Our *NEW HIGH PRIORITY album is also a great place to browse, representing the neediest families of the moment. That said, you may freely choose images from any album which match your respective skill level and interest.

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

*Please be honest about your capabilities! Do not request Intermediate or Advanced images unless you truly possess the requisite skills with which to render a professional-quality restoration. Start with a less challenging image, then work your way up! Trust us. Most images are much more difficult to repair than most realize!


Please send a list of 3-4 images that appeal. You will not be sent 3-4 high-res downloads. You will be sent ONE high-res image to restore — until and unless you've demonstrated that you're skilled and timely enough to take on batch adoptions. Listing several helps ensure that families are receiving 'even' assistance. (Or follow the subject line guidelines below, if you'd like staff to choose an image for you.)

To do so locate the image name located below each photo. Cut-and-paste these names as a numbered list into the body of your e-mail. 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 3 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 guidelines:

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

*Sample Subject Line

Alternately, if you'd like staff to choose an image for you, do so like this:

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


Once approved, you will be sent a download link containing the highest-res version of your image selection. We're currently providing download links via Google DriveMost files will be 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 received 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 cosmetic changes, like under eye circle or object removal. As are certain techniques such as figure silhouetting with solid color background fills and universal blurring or drastic noise reduction when not used in masked moderation to disguise or remove lint or dust. We cannot stress the importance of these guidelines. Please be absolutely sure you understand them! They are present to save us all time!

Additionally, if you anticipate difficulties with your image, e-mail us! You can totes choose a NEW image which better matches your abilities. No problemo!


One of our most important restoration requests: Do not EVER rename any original, provided file. Make sure that the file name matches our naming conventions at all times! Meticulous record-keeping is essential. Here's what you need to know:

When you request a file it will first look something like this:


We won't explain what each element stands for, but trust us, 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 on a few extensions to your original, provided file name. File over-riding is a major issue we're hoping to avoid. Your working file needs _RIP (Restoration In Progress), _yourinitials, yourversion#. If you have been asked to submit more than one version, indicate this by 'numbering up' each different file. 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


So you do not see any problematic areas in your restoration outlined on this page that might result in delays or requests for amendments? Great! It's time to submit your restored image as a flattened, optimized jpg. (No need to send a layered psd unless specifically requested.) If you have adopted more than one photo, please send separate notifications for each. Though you may send all related files for individual images, at one time.

CRITICAL: we no longer accept e-mail attachments. Our storage max, with a paid subscription, recently reached 129%, and after a bit of weeding is now 79%. But it is not possible to delete attachments from e-mails to clear out space, hence PLEASE DO NOT EMAIL ATTACHMENTS.

Our preferred mode of sharing for those of you with gmail accounts? Google Drive

If you have a Gmail address, click here and here to learn how to use Google Drive. (Be sure to follow directions to learn how to provide direct link(s) to your file(s). We cannot process returns that state, "It's in my share folder.")

We also accept files via personal ftps, yousendit, 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. 

  • Please make sure you've followed STEP #6 naming conventions!
  • Please do not display any CARE for Sandy images on your personal website or portfolio unless you have requested and received permission to do so.
  • Please include which name and personal url you'd like us to reference for crediting your photo. You may also add a short bio should your handiwork be selected for our Facebook wall. If you wish to remain anonymous, indicate this as well.

Please also let us know (hooray!) your restoration is ready by typing RESTORATION COMPLETE ||| image name — in the subject line of an e-mail, so that we know to expect your file. Incorrect subject lines result in delayed responses. Please supplement Google Drive and WeTransfer shares with an e-mail or simply send an e-mail with pasted file links, as shares from the former will not receive auto-replies, which double as confirmation receipts. Here's a sample:

(Many of our volunteers have outstanding credentials, but we may ask that amendments be made to your restored image as we're seeking high-quality, semi-pro to pro results. 50% have required moderate to major improvements. 85% have required minor improvements. We'll let you know accordingly.)


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 likely Tweet and/or Facebook 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!

xoxox CARE for Sandy xoxox