Films of silver nanoparticles have optical properties that are useful for applications such as plasmonic light trapping in solar cells. We illustrate experimentally and by means of simulations how the particle shape affects the optical properties. In addition we show that these nanoparticle films can be represented by an effective medium layer with an almost identical reflectance and transmittance. The Bergman effective medium theory that we used provides a link between the nanoparticle shape and the optical properties. This insight can be used for the optical analysis of nanoparticle films and for further optimization of plasmonic solar cells.