Anyone else from outside the fashion industry want to chime in?
I do mostly still life, and shoot quite a lot for US mags; I consider the fees I get from editorial a tip, paying the phone bills and such, so i don't worry about the money too much.
It's fun and relaxed, getting exposure is nice , though not worth much in still life.
But I won't accept assignments that don't cover all expenses, are too low-paid to have a decent production, or when a mag thinks my equipment and DB come without charge.
The majority of magazines are in the money making business, they should understand ....
The big publishing houses are inventing new rules for budgets and usage rights all the time; recently I was asked to sign a form/contract that granted them (some big publisher) unlimited usage and
the right to not pay my fees if they chose not to use my images after the shoot.
Needless to say, I crossed out those passages, got the job anyways.
There's a lot of leeway in negotiations, you just have to have the guts to say 'NO' .
If the creative guys want to work with you, the (little) extra money you are asking will magically turn up; if they don't care, you are disposable to them anyways.