OK, this is one of those lovely posts of someone who got in a situation they should know better, yet here they are. Any helpful suggestions are thankfully welcome.
I got roped into shooting a bunch of corporate portraits. The Powers That Be ordered a basic light kit before they got me on board: two AlienBees B800s, 3 PocketWizard Plus IIIs, stands and umbrellas with a backdrop. I did some research and was going to shoot a clamshell set-up. So far so good, but when I unpacked the boxes to do a dry run, the umbrellas are silver reflective, not shoot through. Still managed to get reasonable light with about 1/8th power on top and 1/32nd on the bottom, but it's a bit harsh/contrasty. Given that the client is not going to spend any additional money, is there anything I can do, with what's on hand to improve the quality of the light? Is there a better set-up than clamshell, given my particulars? I'm an experienced shooter, but not so much with strobes.