#TechPH - How storytellers find that legendary shot with the Xiaomi 14

Connections are made better with images that help bring a story to life. Mobile photography is a medium that makes this possible, as storytellers can capture the perfect money shot with just a few clicks.

Photo by: Jonathan Hodder

Journalist Atom Araullo and photographers Jaja Samaniego and Jonathan Hodder know this all too well. Their careers are built on capturing authentic moments and transforming them into remarkable memories. With the Xiaomi 14 co-engineered with Leica, they’re able to snap sharp and vivid images that enhance their creative vision.

The power of photographs

Journalist Atom Araullo is known for chronicling real life in Filipino communities and for documenting interesting facets of local history and culture. “My interest in journalism and photographs began when I was a child. We had old copies of National Geographic and Life back home, and I would leaf through their pages when I was bored. I was struck by the photographs that I saw: images of distant places and fascinating cultures that I had never heard of. I told myself that one day, I wanted that job, to see and photograph our world,” he shares. 

Araullo was initially drawn to landscape and travel photography, and later on explored street photography. “Nowadays the pictures I take compliment my work as a journalist. I firmly believe that photos convey a story in a way no other medium can.” On his days off, he takes pictures of places and faces, to try and capture the feeling of a moment.  “I love the feeling of going back to these photographs and evoking a sense of nostalgia for a time that will never return.” 

Photo by: Atom Araullo

The facets of everyday living also inspired professional photographer Jonathan Hodder to capture mundane moments from the streets of Barcelona to Manila. As a young photographer, he mostly shot in black and white using an old, battered Leica M2 handed down by his uncle. “I’ve always enjoyed taking photos of everyday life on the streets. These are usually candid moments wherein people are expressing themselves fully, whether it be happy, sad, stoic, or inquisitive. If the moment was true, I would want to take the photo. While street photography is still my bread and butter, I have now been doing portraits and particularly photo documentary work that compliments my professional life in the development sector more often.” 

For Hodder, all photography is personal because it’s something he enjoys doing and looking back on. “It’s the mere act of exploring and talking to people, often in chaotic environments – that’s what fulfills me.”

Jaja Samaniego has been a passionate storyteller through photography for 13 years, immortalizing love and affection through elegant wedding portraits. “I discovered film photography back in college. I just lost my mom at that time, and I just moved to Manila to study college. It was a difficult transition for me and photography became my outlet to weather my storm. Since then, photography has been by my side.”

As a child who was raised in the province, Samaniego’s first subjects were objects found in nature, but she later chose wedding photography as her career path. “My inspiration is still the same. Nature has taught me that nothing is permanent and so we have to appreciate life and celebrate it.”   

Photo by: Jaja Samaniego

Photography made legendary 

Mobile photography has been on the rise in the last few years. For Araullo, it has helped a lot in getting out of his comfort zone and finding inspiration to get out of his creative rut. “It makes photography less intimidating, and more approachable and fun.”

For Araullo, the Xiaomi 14 with Leica Summilux optical lens has further helped him on his photography journey. “I love how compact it is. Plus, the legendary Leica color science also makes taking extraordinary photos a breeze. The pictures are already beautiful straight from the camera, with no need for heavy editing. I think this makes for a purer photography experience.”

Hodder explains that smartphones have democratized photography and have diminished the photographer’s learning curve. “You no longer need to purchase a dedicated camera to take a good photo or practice your craft. Everyone who has a smartphone now has the potential to become a photographer, which means it opens the door wider to those who want to step through it. In the days when film was used, you would need to plan, remember your settings, and then understand what you did and did not do right. Smartphones now take care of 90% of the technicalities. This allows the modern photographer to focus more on refining their creative process.”

Hodder adds that Xiaomi 14’s 35mm and 50mm Summilux lenses capture “painterly” images that are vibrant and beautiful. “The Summilux lens captures more light for brighter shots and more bokeh or shallow depth of field. The rendering is a step closer to what I’m used to with my dedicated camera, and the color signature is just wonderful.”

Samaniego echoes this sentiment as a longtime Leica user. “There’s something about the quality of the image that a Leica camera produces that makes it unique. The Xiaomi 14’s Summilux lens offers that similar authentic Leica glow. I especially love the Leica Authentic filter. When coupled with a shallow depth of field, it will achieve a creamy bokeh and the separation from the subject is very subtle. If you look at the images, you wouldn’t even know that it was taken by a phone.”

Xiaomi 14 is designed to help creators tell better stories by innovating mobile photography. Discover the powerful features of Xiaomi 14 for P47,999 (12GB+512GB) and P45,999 (12GB+256GB) at authorized Xiaomi stores and via Shopee, Lazada, and TikTok Shop- @XiaomiPhilippines. You can purchase this with Home Credit for as low as P1,649 for 18 months. 

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