This post comes from a thread on Luminous Landscape (Free).
Do magazines in areas like food/architecture/sports, etc. expect photographers to work for free?
Magazines that EXPECT photographers to work for free are probably marginal and won't give you the exposure you expect. Any quality publication EXPECTS to pay for photography though the rates may be pitiful for assignment or stock.
I happily do allot of editorial, mostly architecture related (but not exclusively) for local, state , regional and national magazines. Though mostly architecture, recently New Mexico Magazine asked me to illustrate an article on Rudolfo Anaya, a friend I rarely see. It was a treat to work with him. he is a state treasure. The fees were adequate. Overall, the rates are poor right now with some magazines (but not all), but far from free and the difference I can often make up in the stock sales of images from these shoots. These editorial shoots also generate client contacts, high profile exposure and keeps my assistant working during slow times. Editorial also gives me access to unusual locations for my personal work and gas money to get there on someone else's dime. Editorial and the stock it generates is now and always has been been a vital part of my income and marketing strategy. With most magazines my fees are reduced but I have gotten full fees from some publications (pre-recession).
The only time I do free work is for friends, family or occasionally non-profits I support.