this flicker that you speak of, can it be overcome with capacitors to keep them lit instead of "flickering" during the high or on output of each pin?
Maybe, as long as you put the capacitor directly across the LED (on the LED side of the resistor). Otherwise the capacitor will be "fighting" the chip when it tries to switch quickly. (Not really a "standard solution", but good creative thinking!!!!)
I wouldn't even worry about that right now. Depending on how you drive the shift register, if you shift the data quickly enough, you should never see the LED come-on (or off) as the data shifts-through the shift register in microseconds. And, since you are just experimenting and learing right now, it's no big deal. If you do slow it down to see the blinking/flickering, it might even help you to understand what's going on!