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An application of focal-plane imaging that can be used as a real time diagnostic of beam crossing in various optical techniques is reported. We discuss two specific versions and demonstrate the capability of maximizing system performance with an example in a combined dual-pump coherent anti-Stokes Raman scattering-interferometric Rayleigh scattering experiment (CARS-IRS). We find that this imaging diagnostic significantly reduces beam alignment time and loss of CARS-IRS signals due to inadvertent misalignments.