Seeing light and transforming this visual awareness into how the digital chip will see light is something we learn from experience. Consider the ingredients that will determine this from your camera’s settings (My Menu or Picture Style etc.) where you establish the contrast, sharpness, saturation, color tone, filter effect and even color space for a preset or custom matrix setup for Landscapes, Portrait, Product, Wildlife and so on. These settings become the characteristics of your camera and each setup will yield light differently especially when shooting in the JPEG mode.
My personal take on these setups are to #1) Shoot Flat and #2) Process Contrast, I call this organic imaging. In more simple terms, shoot Raw and Process the contrast in a Raw interface, be it Lightroom, Photoshop, DPP, Aperture, C1, iPhoto etc.. I choose to leave the camera settings at default and concentrate more on shutter speed, f/stop and the ISO settings. Light will establish the rights of contrast and combined with the Raw processing controls give the ability to generate a fantastic range of contrast and color options. Study the light on various objects when you shoot them and connect to how the light reacts in the process. Know that we can see billions of shades of tone and color while the digital chip is limited to a bit depth and can only yield millions of tones, values and colors in a final image.