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From what I read, when taking picture of a subject with a very bright background, we can set the metering to read the bright background (which will make faster shutter speed) and to avoid having dark subject, the flash is used.

But, can we use HDR technique to achieve bright subject and bright background, without using any flash?

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Yes.

HDR techniques are perfectly able to capture a dark subject on a bright background.

You just need enough images at different exposure so you have properly exposed images of both the subject, the background and everything in between.

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Short answer, yes.

High Dynamic Range (HDR) is used when the scene luminance range is larger than the range your sensor can capture. Say your camera can deal with 10 stops of lighting range, and your scene has a difference of 12 stops between shadows and highlights, if you take a shot you will either have the highlights blow out, or shadows block up. Shooting an HDR of that scene will allow you to capture all 12 stops of range without a flash.

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