Light Clamping And/Or Smoothing (Interior Scenes)

Have done my best reading up and testing to get a better understanding of this, but have noticed that in a lot of example scenes I download to interogate there are some “odd” settings.

My ideal scenario would just be using a HDRI and no clamping, but even with portals things are a little dark. I also want to avoid using area lights unnecessarily. The best results I’ve seen and have been able to somewhat replicate involve boosting the HDRI/environment strength to something like 20x and then using clamping to avoid extreme light values.

To the best of my knowledge this means I’m no longer working with real world values and I’m introducing far more light into the scene but capping the max value.

I’ve also noticed many doing something similar with interior lights and the light falloff node by using the smoothing value - effectively increasing the amount of light being output but capping the max value again.

Just wondering if this is a relatively common workflow or there are any pitfalls I should be aware of? The results are pretty decent so far, and better than trying to adjust exposure or other settings in post, but just want to make sure I’m clear on how and why I’m breaking real world values.