Inverse methods offer a powerful tool for the identification of the elasto-plastic material parameters. One of the advantages with respect to classical material testing is the fact that those inverse methods are able to deal with heterogeneous deformation fields. The basic principle of the inverse method that is presented in this paper, is the comparison between experimentally measured strain fields and those computed by the finite element (FE) method. The unknown material parameters in the FE model are iteratively tuned so as to match the experimentally measured and the numerically computed strain fields as closely as possible. This paper describes the application of an inverse method for the identification of the hardening behavior and the yield locus of DC06 steel, based on a biaxial tensile test on a perforated cruciform specimen. The hardening behavior is described by a Swift type hardening law and the yield locus is modeled with a Hill 1948 yield surface.