yes it could. The key is understanding that whatever time you save on the front end -- the actual shooting -- you'll make it up on the back end in processing time. Let me demonstrate. Here are some pages from our 2012 Puppy Calendar.
Now, the shooting time was actually very short -- I took all 12 situations with different puppies in less than an hour and we put them on a chromakey background. They actually wore the costumes. The rest of the images Linda created in Photoshop and then applied a painting effect. Her time probably took the better part of a week. However, this was the look we were going for.
In our 2009 Sundance Calendar, the studio time and the post-processing time were more evenly split. We shot Sundance in the studio against a black background over 2 days. Here are a few samples of that.
These three samples were actually pretty straightforward: Sundance wore the costumes and he is really a very good model. Linda wanted the backdrop to be more of a spotlight effect so she created the one that's here but once we picked the proofs, the post was probably only a few days.
We just were planning to set up a portrait booth at some of the dog shows in the area over the next few months and we'd like to be able to use a variety of backgrounds but with our ability to pull subjects off of just about anything, we've decided to use a single color and add in digital/photo backgrounds as appropriate. That will save us a tremendous amount of time on the shooting end which is essential at the shows themselves.
As for editing software, some of the more well-known names beyond Photoshop are Photokey 4 Pro, onOne Perfect Mask 5 and Fluid Mask 3. We've tested both Fluid Mask and Perfect Mask and found them to be good pieces of software but no better in terms of the final result than PS. For us at least. Your mileage may vary