Photos are leaked for many reasons but in Scandal that reason is usually to get a person to leave their job, to expose the truth or to get someone killed.
4x09 - "Where the Sun Don't Shine" Edit
When Elizabeth North thinks someone is bugging her phone she goes to Olivia Pope & Associates for help, Olivia finds out that it is Cyrus Beene bugging Elizabeth's phone. Olivia tells Elizabeth that her phone was hacked by the goldilocks bug, Elizabeth finds out that Olivia lied to her, as a retaliation, she leaks pictures of Michael Ambruso and Cyrus together, leading Cyrus to quit as Chief of Staff. The leaked photos eventually lead Cyrus and Michael to get married.
4x22 - "You Can't Take Command"Edit
Damascus Bainbridge has taken time out of his busy schedule to meet with the First Lady of the United States regarding her senatorial campaign. He’s looking to blackmail Mellie with salacious photos of her and Andrew Nichols, Fitz Grant with Olivia Pope as well as Fitz’s Operation Remington file. Rowan wants her to get him a list of specific names.
5x01 - "Heavy is the Head"Edit
Sally Langston is on TV declaring that Olivia Pope has found her way into the president’s bed. She has pictures to prove her claim. So much for waiting.
Thanks to a little heads up from David, Abby realizes that Elizabeth is the one who leaked the scandalous photos. She uses this knowledge to force a standard of equality. A slightly-thrown Elizabeth agrees to work with her in the future. In other news, Quinn doesn’t buy that her partner in extremely violent crimes (that would be Huck) is truly fixed, but she makes amends with him after realizing she’s pretty messed up, too.