If the tonal range is too great to capture in a single exposure, there are several methods to combine over and under-exposed images with a correctly exposed one. In this way it is possible to disclose detail in the shadows and highlights. Unfortunately most of these methods do not yield natural looking results.
This photo was not taken by me.
I found this portrait of Sir Alex Ferguson on the internet and thought I would see what I could do with it. Sir Alex is the manager of a British sports team. I think the sport is either cricket, soccer, rugby, or quidditch. The photo was taken by Phil Cole. CC is welcome.