ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – From a cell phone picture to massive billboards around the world.

A University of New Mexico student’s photo of Albuquerque’s iconic Balloon Fiesta is now part of a global campaign for Apple.

It started with just the snap of an iPhone 6 photo.

That is how Ahmed Almalki captured his first Balloon Fiesta last year while his friend with 10 years of photography experience took a more complex approach.

“I said to myself, ‘This would be a great opportunity to do a time lapse with some kind of wide-angle fish eye,” said Yazeid Hafez.

However, Almalki’s simple cell phone picture on Instagram caught the attention of Apple.

He said he got an email from the company expressing interest in using the photo as part of a new advertising campaign called, “Shot on iPhone 6,” to show off the phone’s camera capabilities.The campaign launched last month, featuring nearly 60 images taken by everyday iPhone users.

Almalki said Apple paid him a small amount for the use of his picture although he said he could not discuss the details.

Ever since, he has seen his picture pop up in more than a dozen major cities in eight different countries.He even got a copy of a magazine from Japan with his photo displayed on the back page.

“My adventure is to look and open the maps and let’s look at the place,” Almalki said.

Friends, and even strangers, are constantly sending him shots of his picture displayed on billboards and posters.

“Discovering photos. It’s like gifts coming from all over the world,” Almalki said.

At first, family and friends didn’t believe him. He had to snap a picture of the picture to prove it.

“I contacted one of my uncles,” Almalki said. “We went [to Brooklyn]. We took a selfie.”

He said the selfie finally convinced his mom.

The unexpected exposure now has him inspired to take more pictures.