A woman screaming at police, a prime minister showing compassion and the Pope visiting Thailand.

These are the some of the award-winning images that encapsulated 2019.

After analysing hundreds of images taken across the Asia Pacific, judges have announced the top photographs that defined a moment or a movement last year.

Cassie Trotter, Getty Images' head of editorial in the Asia-Pacific, said judges would usually look for two main skills when assessing an entry: ability and creativity.

"It's a really tough competition," Ms Trotter told The New Daily. 

"Can the photographer work with long lens? Short lens? How do they work with the light, with the subject? We like to reward a different eye."

The Best News Picture of the Year was awarded to Laurel Chor for her image of a woman screaming at police officers in Hong Kong during the pro-democracy protests.

Getty Awards: The compelling photographs that defined 2019_1
Inset: Getty's Best News Picture of the Year. Photo: Getty/Laurel Chor

The political and social unrest in Hong Kong was the "biggest sustained story" of 2019, Ms Trotter said.

"That image of a woman screaming at police … that image encapsulated it.

"It gives you the feeling that the people aren't happy."

Getty Awards: The compelling photographs that defined 2019_2
Several images of Hong Kong's protests featured in the awards. Photo: Getty/Anthony Kwan

In second place for Best News Picture of the Year was a photograph of New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern embracing a Muslim worshipper after a right-wing extremist opened fire and killed more than 50 mosque-goers in Christchurch.

Getty Awards: The compelling photographs that defined 2019_3
Ms Ardern opens heart and arms after the horrific slaughter. Photo: Getty/Hagen Hopkins

Ms Trotter said the image, captured by Wellington-based photographer Hagen Hopkins outside Kilbirnie mosque, was a "stand-out" in the eyes of the judges.

"Capturing something like that is an art," she said.

"He didn't have time to go, 'Is the background perfect?' Instead he thought 'I'm going to get down lower, I'm going to get to the level of the people, trying not to disturb… I need to be here for this, I want this to capture what I'm feeling'."

The powerful image has been painted on a silo in Brunswick in inner-city Melbourne.

The third Best News Photograph of the Year was awarded to American journalist Paula Bronstein for her image of Pope Francis visiting young Catholics in Thailand.

Getty Awards: The compelling photographs that defined 2019_4
Inset: Pope Francis walking out of Assumption Cathedral in Thailand. Photo: Getty/Paula Bronstein

"This photograph demonstrates access and years of experience," Ms Trotter said.

"Knowing the Pope is coming, you could stand in front, or shoot from the side, but this photographer thought, 'I could get above and shoot from an angle'.

"There's just something about it, the hands reaching in, and the shape it creates."

Other award-winning photographs include an image of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Vietnam, a woman wearing an Australian-themed hat at Oaks Day in Melbourne, and Nick Allbrook of the band Pond performing at the Splendour in the Grass music festival.

Getty Awards: The compelling photographs that defined 2019_5
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un during his visit to Vietnam. Photo: Getty/Carl Court
Getty Awards: The compelling photographs that defined 2019_6
A woman and her remarkable hat at the Oaks Day races. Photo: Getty/Jenny Evans

 

Getty Awards: The compelling photographs that defined 2019_7
Inset: Pond frontman Nick Allbrook at Splendour in the Grass. Photo: Getty/Mark Metcalfe