What good is a backup, if there is only one copy of it? Always keep at least two copies of your data at all times. You just finished stating all your photos are on the external drive. That's not a backup. Hard drives may need an updated firmware to be able to attach to a machine with a newer operating system. Hard drives may not be able to stay connected while the operating system is being updated, because their firmware isn't up to date enough. Read what I have to say about data recovery here:
Also, lastly, are you running Mac OS X 10.7 server or client? The forum you posted to is "client". If you meant to get answers to Server version, I can ask a moderator redirect this thread, since I don't know much about the "Server" edition. The reason I think you might mean server, is that you picked up HT5049 in your subject line which is about the "Server" edition of Lion.
Thanks for the quick reply!
The backup is for time machine. The photos are the only copy that's why I'm upset about it.
I'm running OS X 10.7.3 (11D50b) which should be client).. no idea what it picked up since this is the first time I'm using this community help.
I'll try out your link tomorrow and let you know if it works.