The easiest way to eliminate the harsh shadow and breathe some life into a photo is using a photo umbrella, and then we are able to recreate a soft light. The reason the umbrella makes the light softer is simply that it is being spread out more. Rather than the burst of light coming from the small flash head it appears to be coming from the large umbrella.
Silver umbrella are very effect at reflecting light and produces a very "white" neutral tone. The silver umbrella is great for subjects that are not shinny. If a warmer tone is desired the gold photo umbrella would be a good choice. Often the gold umbrella is the choice for portraits as it produces a very warm and pleasing skin tones.
However if the gold is too much and the silver is too little there are also options for half gold and half silver in one umbrella. The white umbrella is the one to use when you want to smooth out minor details and produce a more complementary light for your subject. Transparent umbrellas can be used in many ways to diffuse light.
As they are semi-transparent they can be shot thru and used as a diffuser.Use a transparent umbrellas in enclosed on location shoots and you will be amazed at the effects of soft light that is created as the umbrella reflects some light on to the subject and allow some light to pass through to reflect of the walls behind the umbrella.