Joelle Susan appeared to be a great photographer; however, any time we had planned to meet with her after paying a deposit, she always happened to be ill.
We drove over 500 miles to meet with her over a long weekend, taking time off work. Shortly before we were supposed to meet, she cancelled with us due to being on medical leave even though we had planned to meet with her two months in advance.
At this point we have already paid our first deposit and were trying to push past the situation, but we noticed the same day she was ill and on medical leave that she posted she was out drinking with friends that evening. This is clearly a red flag, but my fiance wanted to continue anyways. Shortly after this point she deleted her business page on Facebook, removed my fianc off of her Facebook friend profile and moved from Charleston to Florida.
There was a large gap of no communication at this point and Joelle tried to resolve the issue by suggesting engagement photos where we live (quite a distance from Florida, but she would be in town for another wedding and would work with us to take our photos personally).
When the day of the engagement photos came, she had once again cancelled with less than 24 hours notice and suggested her second shooter would take our photos. We did not hire him, but in her contract it protects her from this situation. Even though I did not sign any contract with her, my fianc did (I was the individual who paid the deposit, yet not signed on the contract). The morning before we were supposed to meet she asked where and when. When we mentioned it would rain in the afternoon she then decided she would have her second photographer shoot us, and his work was less than favorable.
She refused to give us any sort of discount and we had made plans two months in advance to ensure we would have these engagement photos for our save the date cards. We were being forced into a position of either taking images from a photographer that we did not hire or postpone it and not have engagement pictures in a timely manner.
At this point we decided there were far to many red flags and dissolved our contract. I had explained in an e-mail to her that these business practices were unacceptable and that we would be forced to dispute the deposit as we have not gained any service and there was no possibility of rectifying this issue.
She then began to threaten us with legal ramification if we disputed the charge, suggested that I was harassing her because we explained why we were unhappy with her service and wanted to cancel and stated if we said anything online about her that it would some how be slanderous (even though libel is published online, meh). This situation is absolutely unacceptable and her business practices are beyond unconventional. I will leave you with the last thing in quotes, from what she said to me in an e-mail.
"Perhaps sometime in life you will unfortunately be struck by a life threatening illness or devastating issue and no one will be there for you and you will try to the best you can, which will make most people happy.." Not especially sure what this means, but it seems quite unpleasant.