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You can also use shutter priority, but in that the meter will try to set the aperture, and may not get exposure right in very long exposures.
If you're doing a long night time shot, make sure you turn Auto ISO off or the meter will crank the ISO up to max, and ruin your shot with noise. Since you're going to be on a tripod, you can keep your ISO as low as possible, and insure the most noise-free exposure.
For exposures longer than 30 seconds, you'll need the accessory remote control. Unfortunately, the D3100 does not use the convenient and cheap IR remote that was, for some reason dropped, and reinstituted in the D3200. But the plug in wireless remote will allow the "B" or bulb setting, which opens the shutter for as long as you press the button, to become a proper "T" or time setting, in which one press of the remote opens the shutter and the next closes it. This makes it possible to keep the shutter open for any length of time without jiggling.
If you cannot find the remote and must go over 30 seconds, the only other way is a bit of a bodge, in which you would cap the lens, set the camera's shutter to B, and use a rubber band and whatever else works, to hold the shutter open by keeping the button down. Once open, you remove the lens cap, and then recap the lens before closing the shutter again. The remote works better!
e.t.a. you'll almost certainly need to switch to manual focus for night time shots. If you do the rubber band and cap trick, you'll definitely need to use manual focus. In AF mode, the camera is in "focus priority," which means that if it cannot find focus, the shutter will not fire.
With regard to shooting in a dark setting, the options are going to be limited, but the two things you need most are a fast lens and a tolerance for high ISO.
The first thing you probably need to do is to experiment with your camera and high ISO settings, to see how much digital noise you can tolerate for the kind of images you want and the kind of printing you expect. People are generally a bit better suited to high ISO than some other subjects, as your object is to get the person doing a thing, and not so much to worry about fine details of leaves or fur and the like.
How fast a shutter speed you require will depend a bit on how much movement is there. Your best bet for starters is probably to use shutter priority for whatever speed you need to stop motion. Leave the auto ISO on, after having set whatever maximum your previous experiments determine is your maximum tolerance for noise. The camera will first increase the aperture to whatever is the lens's max, and then raise ISO as needed up to the limit you've set. If it runs out of both aperture and ISO it will underexpose, but you should have a pretty good range.
The faster the lens and larger the aperture, the easier the job will be.
Your best bet is probably AFC and single point focus. You'll focus on a single subject, and if the subject moves a little the focus will follow. Auto area focus might choose something you don't want. Make sure that the auto focus starting point is where you want it. It's easy to move by accident. The [OK] button will recenter it, and the up/down/l/r/ surrounding ring will move it. The center point is most sensitive in poor light, and fastest.
If your subject is relatively isolated in a pool of light, you may benefit either from negative exposure compensation or spot metering. The camera's matrix metering will try to lighten the surrounding dark stage, and overexpose spotlit subjects. If you go to negative exposure comp, you'll not only get better exposure, but lower ISO. If you go to spot metering, the metering spot will be the same as the auto focusing starting spot. This will often work well if you're aiming at a face.
I have ABSOLUTELY no knowledge or experience in Photography. I purchased my first DSLR from a friend about two years ago and during those two years it has been collecting dust. I thought about selling it, but then thought maybe I should give it a ''shot'' before I do that. After searching How-To videos on YouTube I came across this site. I'm looking forward to learning everything I need to learn about my Nikon3100. Thank you! :)