The global properties of elliptical galaxies are connected through the so-called fundamental plane of ellipticals, which is an empirical relation between their parameters: effective radius, central velocity dispersion and mean surface brightness within the effective radius. We investigated the relation between the parameters of the fundamental plane equation and the parameters of modified gravity potential $f(R)$. With that aim, we compared theoretical predictions for circular velocity in $f(R)$ gravity with the corresponding values from a large sample of observed elliptical galaxies. Besides, we consistently reproduced the values of coefficients of the fundamental plane equation as deduced from observations, showing that the photometric quantities like mean surface brightness are related to gravitational parameters. We show that this type of modified gravity, especially its power-law version - $R^n$, is able to reproduce the stellar dynamics in elliptical galaxies. Also, it is shown that $R^n$ gravity fits the observations very well, without need for a dark matter.