Who said that photography is like painting with light?
Light and shadows are what makes a photograph interesting. Of course we do not always have the chance to control how the light falls or the time to come back at a better time of day. Of course it is beneficial to be able to check where the sun is coming from and select the best time of the day for your subject. But it does not always work that way.
So the only other solution is to change tour viewpoint before you release the shutter. I often find it beneficial to move the camera to manual to really ensure that the lights are not washed out and the shadows provide the right dynamic. Of course in smart phone photography that does not always work like this, unless you have a special app which gives you more control. But despite this the algorithm in the phone may not always render the best results.
Another issue are artifacts in the shadows at extensive compression. If possible I shoot RAW and work on the image later.
How to expose? Focus on the lights and make sure they do not wash out. Anything in the light area which is lost, usually is lost and can make the image look flat and less dynamic. I found that in many cameras there is much more detail hidden in the shadows, than the image on the LCD monitor let you assume. Working later on the computer, you can get these details, if, yes, if, you need them.
Sometimes, let the shadow blacks just be black. They create a great dynamic and can help leading your eyes to the important image parts.
These images show were in the National Gallery in Tokyo with the winter sun in the afternoon in late January.
The other images were taken in Makuhari Messe, Tokyo in midday in summer.
All images copyright NCAS_48.